Going into 2020, the sports betting arena was abuzz with increasing legalisation and record revenues. Then came Coronavirus, and everything went haywire.
The pandemic shut down businesses, curtailed interactions, and cut short livelihoods. Sports betting was not spared by the COVID-19 pandemic, either.
Unsurprisingly, COVID-19 threw the entire 2020 sporting calendar into disorder. It led to professional sports leagues hastily suspending the season to restrict the transmission of the virus and protect its players.
With the deferral of the major college and professional sports leagues, it’s not hard for anyone to guess the impact of this virus on the sports betting industry and related fields.
Punters could not bet on sporting events if there weren’t any taking place, and the casinos and bookmakers felt the pinch as the world cowered.
Summertime is typically full of exciting sporting events and activities, and enthusiasts find themselves spoilt for choice in a normal season. No event survived, from grand slam tournaments and PGA tours to the gruelling slog of the Tour de France cyclists, and what would have been the next Olympics in Japan. The packed sports calendar had a lot to keep sports enthusiasts going, and it all disappeared behind masks and sanitiser sprays.
In the weeks following the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in most countries, the industry cancelled significant sporting and entertainment events. These cancellations led to a decline in sports betting with bookmakers struggling to find markets on the few remaining sports events due to the coronavirus concerns.
Some games were returning by the second half of 2020, but the betting industry may never be the same.
Closure Of Brick And Motor Casinos
Land-based casinos took a hit in returns as the virus continues to affect traditional gambling markets. The pandemic had not just halted organised sports; it has forced casinos, sports betting parlours, bingo halls, and other related establishments to shut down entirely.
The closure was in line with government-directed lockdowns that were put in place to mitigate the virus’s spread.
Rise Of Online Casinos
Sports-betting companies began exploring alternative ways to keep their businesses afloat while keeping customers entertained. Bookmakers like SBOBET offered punters other online casino games, including live dealer casino games, online poker, scratch cards, and bingo, providing feasible substitutes to sports betting.
The cancellation of major sporting events, like the NBA, NFL, XFL, NCAA, and MLS left stadiums empty, and some casinos closed indefinitely. As government travel restrictions and COVID-driven fears of public gatherings mounted, it put pressure upon the stock prices of casino companies worldwide.
Sports betting companies spend billions on marketing and other avenues hoping to profit from punters in various sports. Those companies were now counting losses as they tried to keep their businesses afloat.
The turn of events was especially challenging for physical sportsbooks that owned large retail outlets, all of which were shut down by governmental emergency restrictions.
The sports betting industry has been through unprecedented challenges, and the spread of COVID-19 continued as 2020 waned. No one could say with certainty when normal sports activities would resume.
All that betting companies can do is respond to the pandemic with flexibility and creative problem-solving to mitigate the financial impact. It’s a whole new world.