How Does Covid Affect Sports Betting?
The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of millions of people around the world. Professional gamblers and betting companies were no exception.
It became impossible to maintain the traditional routine, including betting, if one wished.
But how much has the coronavirus affected the betting industry and how are things now? Meta.reviews give examples from specific countries.
With the pandemic in Sweden, the demand for the services of illegal bookmakers has increased. They are preferred by about a third of the players. According to experts, this trend reflects the fact that unregistered bookmakers offer more bonuses and promotions than licensed offices. At the same time, Swedish laws do not provide for punishment for playing in an illegal office.
In the UK, betting has become a tool for fighting boredom. The number of players has grown, and those who regularly made online bets before the pandemic did not reduce their betting activity during it. Some (28%) even started betting more often. 41% of UK gamblers have opened new accounts with other bookmakers.
The government has responded to such activity by imposing a daily betting limit of £50. Also, during the quarantine period, a ban was imposed on bookmakers’ use of topics such as coronavirus and self-isolation for advertising purposes.
Belgium has a player limit. For 7 days, the amount of the deposit must not exceed 500 euros. At the same time, representatives of the country’s gambling regulator urge players to report violations by bookmaker companies that allow you to deposit the amount exceeding the limit.
In Russia, the authorities did not impose strict restrictions. Except for the closure of land-based betting points, there are no changes in the work of operators.
Due to the cancellation of sporting events, the revenue of Russian offices in March fell by 40–45% compared to the average figures for January and February 2020.
During the quarantine period, the country’s authorities have banned any commercials that mention casinos and bookmakers. Also, bookmaker companies were forced to abandon promotions and bonuses.
Government officials believed that this approach would help retain old players and attract new ones.
In the United States, betting shops and casinos, the activities of which generate the main income of the betting industry were closed. The authorities also suspended the issuance of gambling licenses during the quarantine.
In March, for example, New Jersey revenues from gambling dropped by half compared to 2019 (from $372.4 million to $187.1 million). In total, the industry lost about $43 million.
Of course, the demand for online betting has not just gone down, but it has gone up, but it does not affect the size of the industry’s losses that much.
The situation now
Now it is a little easier for bookmakers. Most countries have eased restrictions, many championships have been resumed, and because of that, the lines have become more diverse.
Small betting companies did not manage to survive the crisis, but due to their closures, the big ones have more customers.
Player preferences have changed. When the major championships in all sports were canceled, bettors switched to eSports. Now it has not lost its popularity. Many players appreciated the simplicity and speed of betting on this discipline.
According to bookmakers, the final recovery of the betting industry is still a long way off. For this, it is necessary that major sporting events begin to be held again without postponements and cancellations, as well as that the previously introduced restrictions on advertising are completely removed.