It’s been over a week now since the World Health Organization has officially called the 2019 coronavirus or COVID-19 a pandemic. Over a hundred countries are now battling the threat of this virus and many industries are affected because of this.
The sports industry is also hit hard by this pandemic. Since the start of march, many leagues and associations have already canceled their events and many fans and people in the industry are saddened about it. The lack of sports events in the next few weeks is also affecting the sports betting industry.
Currently, many of the land-based casinos and bookies worldwide are already ordered to close to help fight the spread of the virus. Because of this, the operators are now focused on their online audiences. There are still many online bookies like Ladbrokes that are still operating as of this time.
These bookies are mainly the ones that also offer online casino games to their customers. However, even if there is a lack of sports events these days, these bookies are still trying to find ways to give their customers more options when it comes to wagering.
It’s also not just about giving their customers more options when it comes to betting, but it’s also to ensure that they remain in business while this is all happening. The co-founder of Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures that is an advisory and investment firm for sports and entertainment industries pointed out that it’s the land bookies that are really hit hard right now.
Chris Bevilaqua said, "They don't have any customers now. A lot is going to undergo some financial hardship."
Sportsbooks with online services can be considered lucky because they can still choose to operate and run their business continuously. Online bookies like FanDuel and DraftKings are now focusing on their Daily Fantasy Sports businesses.
Aside from that, other sports bookies have also launched betting pools on topics like politics or TV shows. There are now bookies that offer odds on the weather too. People can now wager on temperatures in different cities and even on the final song that will be played on the season finale of American Idol.
In Russia, things are also starting to look the same for their local betting industry. Russian bookmakers are now also offering odds on events that are not related to sports. There are Russian bookies that have new sections on their websites that are dedicated to wagering on the coronavirus pandemic. This includes wagering on when Moscow will issue a complete lockdown and when there will be buckwheat shortage in stores.
This just shows how online bookies are becoming creative when it comes to ensuring that they stay in business. However, despite this option to offer odds on events that are not related to sports, there are still bookies that have decided to temporarily cease their operations.
There still are sports events that bettors can look forward to. David Strauss, the Head Oddsmaker at MyBookie talked about this. He said, "It's safe to say about ninety-five percent of our action comes from the North American sporting scene. We've added a lot of foreign sports that people may not have heard of such as Ukrainian Table Tennis."
There are also bookies that are now shifting their focus towards esports. What’s great about esports tournaments is that they can still push through with the events that they have since the matches are all online.
Bookies like William Hill now has odds on esports tournaments like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Other popular esports tournaments are on games like Fortnite, Dota 2, League of Legends, and Call of Duty. These tournaments can be easily streamed on video streaming platforms like YouTube and Twitch.
Esports may actually play an important role in the betting industry during times like this. It is expected that more people will start to follow esports tournaments as they remain in their homes during the coronavirus quarantine period.
Experts say that this is a good time for the esports industry to get under the limelight. If the lack of sports events and the quarantine period won’t boost the said industry, they are saying that it may never get the attention that many would like it to get.
Sports betting operators are just really challenged right now to stay in business, but with all these solutions, we can say that they are still coping. Right now, it’s still unknown whether the canceled and postponed sports events will be back by mid-April. This will all depend on the pandemic crisis that many countries are dealing with.