Sports Betting World Comes to a Halt Coronavirus
The world of sports betting has come to a complete halt thanks to the Coronavirus. Ever since the NBA suspended the league, it has been a lockdown on sporting events all around the world. If you check out any bookmaker today, the sites are blank without any sporting data like this page on Bet365 sportsbook.
In efforts to combat the quick spread of the COVID-19 (or Coronavirus as it’s more commonly referred to) companies world-wide have been shutting down their operations in almost every industry.
Global sports do not escape this reality and, consequentially, the sports betting industry.
In a matter of days, every major sport in dozens of countries, have announced its decision to cancel their league, leaving a void in the sports betting industry: if there are no sports or games, what will we bet on?
Last week, the NCAA canceled both the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. A fact that has a special “sting” when we take into account that the NBA is the biggest betting event in US sports, generating billions and most of the NCAA’s budget.
Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill, a U.K. based betting house, said in a recent interview that the “Cancellation of March Madness was a real punch in the gut in our industry” addressing one the most lucrative betting events that occur in the US each spring.A feeling that is mutual amongst all sports betting companies and websites.
Some betting sites have been getting creative and have offered their loyal bettors the opportunity to bet on the weather… yes, the weather! Bovada, a huge betting website, was one of the pioneers to implement this “strategy”. Want to see it for yourself? Find it here.
Every industry has suffered in these recent “corona” times, but this affirmation is especially true for the betting industry. No one really knows when the major leagues will decide to “reboot” their seasons and this leaves bettors with a bitter sense of uncertainty and unease.
“I don’t know that there’s an obvious substitute for sports betting,” Chris Grove said.
Chris is a gambling industry analyst and a managing partner at Eilers & Krejcik Gaming. Groove “oversees the firm’s sports betting practice” as stated on the Eilers & Krejcik Gaming website.
Groove continued to say “Some will find casino games, some will find games that have some element of sports, but it’s not clear to me that there is a product that’s relevant to enough sports bettors to soak up any material amount of that now unmet demand.”
Few, specific betting sites have seen benefit from these strange times, though. Player’s Lounge promotes themselves as a “platform where gamers can play their favorite video games against others for prizes”, allowing players to bet on online gaming or eSports. They have seen a recent increase in business in the midst of the coronavirus.
In fact, Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading for William US, said in an interview with Bookies.com that "(eSports) would pretty much have the floor to itself and it's already been booked quite a bit in Europe and it's so popular. I would say eSports has a fighting chance of doing some business."
But this is just an exception to the overall, underlying situation. The sports world has stopped nearly all activities, most bettors are having difficulties finding what to bet on and betting companies and websites are doing only a fraction of the business they usually do.
Sportsbetting is definitely not in their best moments, and it is uncertain how long this will endure.
So the question lies, what will be the future of the sports betting industry? Will every betting site have to appeal to online gaming and eSports? Hopefully, some light will shine soon.