|Tuesday 25th February 2020|
How Bookies are dealing with the Coronavirus Outbreak
As Coronavirus continues to spread, sports betting companies are facing a slew of new challenges. Worst among them is the question: what if all sports events are cancelled? Will bookies shut down or look beyond sports for betting markets?
Throughout the world where Coronavirus has been detected, governments and league officials are suspending games indefinitely. China made the first ban when COVID-19 was detected in Wuhan.
Japan followed next by suspending its top tier football leagues. When the disaster hit Italy, the government only took a few days before it began to suspend sports gatherings. Now the entire country is under lockdown, meaning no sport is taking place.
Around Europe, all major football leagues are on a hiatus for at least two weeks. Of course, it is not just football that’s being affected. From horse racing and cycling to marathons and rugby, plenty of sports events have been pushed forward due to the pandemic.
Across the Atlantic, US sports leagues are taking no risks, from the NBA and the MLB to the MLS and the NHL. Even college basketball, American’s biggest sports betting event, won’t take place for at least a month.
Betting Sites Remain Open
The Coronavirus's biggest effect on bookmakers concerns their bottom line. March, one of the busiest months in sports betting, attract bets worth over $200 million in the US. That's according to ESPN, which estimates March Madness sees Americans bet over $100 million.
As noted by Ghost Insights, from April to May, bettors shift to the NBA, the NHL, and the MLB. But now with a pandemic halting everything, bookmakers are coming with terms that they might record losses for the next several months.
In Europe and Britain, betting companies are affected as much as their American counterparts. Most of them earn a big chunk of their revenues from football tournaments.
But with both football and nearly all other sports on a hiatus, they are taking severe hits on their finances. Luckily, almost all bookmakers support online betting in the UK. As such, they aren't too worried about not getting visitors as much as Las Vegas land-based casinos are.
To Refund or not to Refund Bets
Many betting companies had already accepted millions worth of bets before the Coronavirus outbreak. With the pandemic disrupting sports activities, bookies are split on how to best deal with the issue.
Some betting companies have pledged to pay back bettors, especially those who had made wagers on recently suspended games. Others, however, want to wait and see what happens to sports after a month.
Caesars Entertainment, for example, is on a wait-and-see mode before deciding whether to payout futures bet or to return them.
“We’re waiting until leagues either cancel the season or declare a winner,” Kevin Fulmer, Caesars’ Vice President, recently said.
Still, some bookies are accepting futures bets such as which NBA teams will win the Eastern and Western Conferences.
Available Betting Markets
Not all is lost in the betting world, so if you want to make a wager, there are plenty of outcomes to predict. NASCAR and some South American soccer leagues, for example, are still running events although without fans.
Most bookies are also accepting future bets, from World Series Winners and the 2021 Super Bowl winners to this year’s Stanley Cup champions. Of course, that comes with the risk that it might take longer before bettors ever get paid.
- Political Bets
Amid Coronavirus and political elections, bookmakers are reminding everyone you can bet on political events. In the US, you can win predict which democratic candidate wins the nomination.
Or you can wager on the main election, wagering whether president Trump will win or lose. Beyond the US, you can wager on the Royals in the UK, King Jong Un from North Korea or Chinese politics.
- Casino Games
Many betting websites where casino gambling is legal also provide slots, blackjack, and poker games. And now that their sportsbooks are suffering due to the Coronavirus expect them to promote their casino games immensely.
In Britain and many European countries, casino gambling is legal for everyone over 18 years. That means you can play any games available on online casinos conveniently. In the US, though, rules vary from one state to another.
Investing in Customer Service
Sports betting companies around the world are suffering business-wise, but that's not their only challenge. Many punters are in a panic mode, calling emailing and chatting with bookies to find out how to bet in the wake of Coronavirus.
The best bookmakers are taking the challenge as an opportunity to stand out in customer service. Depending on the ideal contact methods, they have people staying on