The Effects of Coronavirus on the Sports Betting Industry
The effects of Coronavirus on sports betting have taken a big hit with cancellations of national leagues and major sporting events around the world. The Japan Olympics are postponed indefinitely, and EURO 2020 has been delayed until June 2021. The industry is facing unprecedented challenges, and the spread of Coronavirus continues. No one can say with any certainty when national and international sports will resume. With the largest countries in Europe and the USA under quarantine, lower league football teams are already facing financial difficulties.
How are betting sites coping?
With live sports suspended indefinitely, punters are turning to the only few options remaining. Online casinos are reporting increased online activity, so is eSports and virtual sports games. Horse racing may go ahead in some countries, less the crowd, and a handful of live events may still go ahead providing a trickle of events online bookmakers can exploit. One such event is the MML fight between Habib and Ferguson planned for April 19th. Betting sites are already offering odds for the eagerly anticipated battle. The silver lining is more people than ever before are going online and turning to alternatives. Land casinos have closed, and many of those players have gravitated to online casinos.
Trends and Diversification
We should not forget many bookmakers offer casino games. Another trend that is increasing is live dealer casino games such as those released by industry leaders. Online Poker, bingo, scratch cards are all viable alternatives to sports betting. Horse racing is set to continue behind closed doors, but unfortunately, the Grand National will not be held this year. Esports was already growing exponentially and will increase in popularity even more in the coming months. Virtual sports are the closest to the real thing for ardent sports fans. Sports betting companies and the media businesses that capitalised the industry are already cutting costs to keep afloat and trying to find creative ways to keep fans engaged while the sports world is in limbo. Online gambling companies are launching betting pools around politics or TV shows, as well as looking to smaller, international events that are still ongoing like horse racing, rugby.
Fantasy Video Sports
All eyes are on the Autumn NFL season as the next comeback opportunity for sports betting fans. Sportsbook operators are in a tight spot, as they own massive casinos and retail locations that have been hit worst. Online gambling providers are including daily fantasy and virtual sports to weather the economic climate. Sports leagues and associations, like NASCAR, are starting to turn to video gaming simulations or Esports which could provide new betting opportunities. The Coronavirus isn’t just affecting people’s health, but it has begun to affect sports matchups worldwide. It is causing a ripple effect on the betting market. Multiple organisations from Italian soccer to the NBA have discussed precautions for playing games due to the global outbreak.
Contingency Plans and Alternatives
Sportsbooks are preparing for upsets by underdogs due to the shakeup that is being caused by the illness. Every sport has the same plan set should they need it. That is, to keep playing the schedule without fans. Games would be played without fans behind closed doors, but played, nonetheless. The NBA informed teams with a memo that if there was a risk of Coronavirus infection, they should prepare to play without any fans in the stands. However, some athletes won’t agree with such measures. Coronavirus could make for an unexpected payday for those gambling on sports events. Payouts will be higher on the underdog. The worst-case scenario is to have the games played without fans in the stands but might be the only option. Athletes have been informed of the Coronavirus symptoms, and each player will be evaluated and tested before playing in the Championship. Either way, it is safe to say the entire sports industry is on top of the virus outbreak and they are taking proper, responsible precautions to avoid the further spread of the virus. In doing so, they have created what could be an extremely lucrative spread for all future sports events and those who love to bet on them. While sports fans may not be able to attend games, they will still be able to wager on them.
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