Given the tremendous rate at which coronavirus is spreading, most people are more worried about their health and financial wellbeing than anything else. Still, there’s no denying that brands, more so, betting companies, are also hurting.
With sports cancelled worldwide, bookmakers are scraping the barrel of betting markets to give their customers something to predict. Some are providing wagers on extremely minor albeit risky sports like virtual games or betting on the weather.
However, the more respectable brands are bearing losses temporarily hoping things will get better sooner rather than later. That said, here’s how bookmakers are affected by the fast-spreading coronavirus pandemic:
March is one of the busiest months for betting sites around the world. In North America, it’s the time March Madness, the second half of the NBA, the NHL and days before the MLB begins.
In Europe, football is at its peak, from the English Premier League and Serie A to the Champions League and Europa League. Elsewhere, Formula One is usually organizing circuits while the cricket season would be in the latter part of its season.
Instead, nearly all sports are on a hiatus, meaning betting companies have few sports to broadcast. Precisely, they have a limited number of betting markets: MMA, Belarus football, Japanese baseball and Australian A-League football, to name a few.
Even if bookies had markets for bettors, some of them would still be hurting financially. That’s because, across the UK, the US and everywhere else COVID-19 is sweeping, betting shops have been shut down.
No one knows when the pandemic will end, meaning these betting companies will remain closed for weeks. As a result, they will be counting losses without a clear date of when they will be able to reopen.
In some regions, however, including Britain, betting companies are pushing to remain open. They’ve been criticized for it but they want to remain operational for as long as it takes.
Bookmakers that have physical betting shops and online betting sites have only one way of doing business: The Internet. Most of them also tend to offer both sportsbooks and casino games like slots, blackjack and poker.
With the sportsbook sections of their businesses affected immensely, bookies are encouraging players to bet on games more frequently. The UK government has already got hold of this and it’s reacting by advising bookies to impose daily £50 maximum bets to reduce problem gambling.
In the spirit of resilience, bookmakers are providing betting markets for anything that can be wagered on. Betting on politics, for example, is a huge thing. You can wager on democratic nominations or place an early bet on who wins the US presidential election.
You can also bet on all sports taking place amid COVID-19. Or you could wager on eSports—competitive video game tournaments—such as FIFA, Fortnite, League of Legends and Dota 2.
To spice up things, bookmakers are also offering exclusive bonuses to new customers. You can check out the 10 best sign up offers reviewed by Wincomparator. Then find out what betting markets they have and decide which company bests suit your needs.
Nearly all major sports have accompanying fantasy apps. In the EPL, you can lineup up to 15 players from all twenty clubs to form a team that garners the most points after each game week.
Amid this sports drought, bookmakers are getting creative by allowing people to create fantasy teams drawn from reality TV shows, politics and fictional TV series. FanDuel, for example, has been creating gambling markets for Democratic Party Presidential Debates.
With the last debate before all public gatherings got cancelled, FanDuel had these wagers: which candidate brings up COVID-19 first, number of tweets by President Trump and who talks the longest, to name a few.
Sportsbooks that provide virtual markets are seeing a spike in prices for an obvious reason. Virtual sports are the closest thing to real sports amid COVID-19.
With virtual football games, for instance, you sit and watch as two LaLiga teams compete for a couple of minutes. The computer then chooses a winner objectively. You can play these games 24/7, giving you something to predict whenever you are free.
Predictably, however, virtual sports are games of pure chance. Sure, you have knowledge of the best cricket teams. But things don’t work that way with virtual games. The computer picks the winner, meaning there’s little you can do to increase your winning odds.
One of the issues bookies are facing in COVID-19 is dealing with games whose integrity is unknown. Some betting companies, for example, have been allowing people to bet on any eSports tournament popularized online.
However, the problem is that many tournaments are not taking place in organized environments. That means some of the competitors could also bet to lose and, thereby misleading other bettors.
On the flip side, bookmakers are being criticized for supporting markets in which bettors have almost no information to work with. Of course, it’s not their fault that they can’t offer games from major leagues. But they might soon be forced to stop offering some of these markets.
For many bookmakers, sports leagues and clubs aren’t just their source of betting odds. They are also partners. And now that many of these organizations are on a hiatus, betting companies are facing a new challenge: how to advertise in the wake of COVID-19.
Most bookmakers are relying on the Internet for advertising. Some have been super active on social media while the giant brands are running ads on TV persistently. Of course, some of these companies had no plans to spend more money on adverts.
With the top tier betting brands, partnering with a league like Serie A and top clubs throughout Europe offers them enough visibility. However, COVID-19 is changing how bookies advertise when their primary advertising partners are out of the picture.