How Will Empty Stadiums Impact Betting?
The world of sport has been particularly impacted by the ongoing pandemic, with the vast majority of live events cancelled or postponed during the worst periods of the crisis.
Many events have now been allowed to resume, on the condition that the stadiums themselves remain free from flesh-and-blood fans so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in a context where maintaining social distance is impossible.
This is clearly a conundrum for both players and viewers alike, since stadiums that are designed to seat tens of thousands now stand empty while some of the world’s most skill athletes ply their trade in front of a skeleton crew of cameramen, producers and coaching staff. The other question that needs to be answered is how this state of affairs will impact sports betting, a pastime that is quickly gaining momentum nationwide.
It is worth noting that being able to bet on the outcome of sporting events has only been legal on American soil for a very short amount of time.
As you will find out by learning about sports betting in the USA on betting.us, placing wagers is now officially sanctioned both online and off in a growing number of states including New Jersey, Oregon, Tennessee and elsewhere. This is great news for anyone who wants to enjoy above-the-board betting from the comfort of their couch, although coronavirus has arguably complicated things for this nascent industry.
For one thing, the closure of bricks and mortar sports betting locations in the states where they had started to open in the past couple of years because of restrictions imposed by the authorities has really thrown a spanner in the works. Now that games are being played again in front of empty stadiums, it could be argued that the essential spark which makes sport so enthralling in the first place has been at least partly dampened, if not completely extinguished.
Given that this is a market which experts were predicting to be capable of generating $8 billion annually within the next half-decade just a few months ago, it is certainly worrying to consider how empty stadiums might take their toll on activity, at least in the short term.
The flip side of the pandemic problem that is facing sports betting in the USA at the moment is that with millions of people still unable to attend games in person, the audience for the events that are being broadcast is not only large, but also more engaged with the action than ever.
This means that people who are missing the thrill of being part of a crowd watching their favorite team play in the stands will be looking for ways to spice up their enjoyment of the same action that is being beamed into their homes. With online sports betting stepping up to the plate and seasons restarting as we speak, the potential for bookmakers and casino brands to build rapport with an entirely new section of customers is significant.
Taking the initiative
No doubt web-based sports betting operators are well aware of both the challenges they face in this brave new world of live sports as well as the opportunities that are available to them at the moment if they are bold enough to reach out and grasp them.
Fans may not be able to get to stadiums themselves, but by leveraging the power of digital gambling platforms, particularly in a smartphone app context, it will be possible to turn desolate scenes into something fruitful, at least in theory.
This is already a trend that is being seen in other parts of the world, particularly in regions where the sports betting market is mature and well established. Take the UK, for example, where the Premier League got underway again back in June. The large number of competing bookmakers in the country redoubled their efforts to appeal to newcomers by providing free bets and other bonuses for signing up, such as money back deals that effectively allow for wagers to be placed free of charge.
There may still be debates around whether or not the atmosphere has been sucked out of certain sports because stadiums are empty, but there is clearly still a desire for sports betting being exhibited elsewhere worldwide.
Ultimately it seems likely that the market for sports betting in the USA will prove to be similarly resilient, regardless of whether or not stadiums remain devoid of fans for the foreseeable future.
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