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Sports Betting In The Covid-19 Era


Both casino and sportsbook industries have been severely impacted by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Different parts of the world decided to fight the coronavirus in their own ways, bringing about state and local government-imposed measures. These measures usually included the closing of many retail establishments, including casinos and sportsbooks.

This resulted in a huge shift to online gambling since the majority of physical revenues were unavailable from March to June. And that is not all…

Switching to Online

Even if most of the sportsbook operators who already launched online or mobile betting platforms were secure, soon followed the inevitable. Many sports events on a global level were canceled and postponed, and this had the most damaging effect on the industry. Sports events such as the Premier League and Tokyo Olympics were postponed and the industry’s revenue was predicted to fall by IBISWorld expects by 27% during 2020-2021.

In other words, the switch to the online industry had an effect on the whole gambling industry during the coronavirus pandemic. To find tons of great online operators navigate to this website and check out the review. However, the brick-and-mortar venues were the ones that suffered the most, and the online casinos marked a huge growth in revenue.

Time to Adapt

Such problems in the gambling industry also resulted in boosting other gambling products. Once the futures of the industries and certain betting markets became uncertain for the time being, many operators started focusing on other types of betting. The bettors were eager to wager, and the ideal opportunity arose – betting on esports.

By introducing new games and different arenas to place wagers at, sportsbook operators around the globe find a way to make the most out of the COVID-19 crisis. And while other industries were practically destroyed by the current situation, the global gaming industry simply flourished. People were hungry for entertainment and distraction during the lockdown, and the perfect way to entertain themselves was to play video games.

Moreover, bettors who couldn’t bet on sports events turned to bet on esports. Different gaming tournaments taking place online was a very fruitful ground for a new betting market. It was a win-win situation for both the sportsbooks and gaming developers. This was the best way to keep the bettors placing wagers at online betting platforms.

In addition, new areas of gambling got attention, as according to YouGov 33% of surveyed people said that they tried new gambling types during the lockdown. Besides, 0.2% of adult survey respondents claimed that they tried gambling for the first time during the lockdown.

Third and Fourth Trimester 2020

Even when the lockdown measures started to get less strict, and sports competitions and events were back on, not much changed for retail sportsbooks. The dominant way of betting remained remote gambling, including both online and mobile wagering. Besides, in some parts of the world such as the UK online GGY increased 115%, and by summer 2020 the numbers surpassed the pre-lockdown digits.

Nevertheless, sports betting markets are expected to get back to their “normal” state soon. As a matter of fact, when some major sports events were resumed, betting on sports events (during only a couple of months) skyrocketed. And some areas of the world even recorded higher numbers than pre-lockdown.

On the other hand, some sports betting markets that relied heavily on on-the-spot betting such as horse racing are still in the red. The main recovery plan for them is to bring back the wagerers to the racecourse, which should be the main focus with the new social distancing measures in sight.

Summing it up

And while the esports betting markets are expecting to thrive after the COVID-19 crisis, it is indeed only a substitution for sports events to some gamblers. It was a great plan B for sportsbook operators to bring in revenue, and a new way to engage wagerers. The social distancing measures and capacity limitations are a huge problem for many retail sportsbooks.

Thus, taking advantage of technology to help gamblers experience games and events without being physically present is what the industry needed at these hard times.


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