COVID-19 Hits Football Betting

With the World Health Organization declaring the Coronavirus as a pandemic, many major league and college sports events in football have been cancelled in Europe, the US, and more across the globe.

For those who frequently scour the internet with free football betting tips, now might not be the most exciting time to bet on the sport. The virus has become an unprecedented problem in the sports betting and casino betting industries. In these times of health crisis, how will COVID-19 impact football betting?

Less games means less to bet on

In the past week, the top five European leagues as well as all prominent European football competitions have been indefinitely suspended as health professionals advise people to avoid the large gatherings. Serie A, Italy’s top football league, has been one of the major leagues that has been postponed due to the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

With football games being postponed for the past week and counting, what will football punters bet on?

Many football betting fans have now turned to lesser known or far-off leagues just to place bets. These leagues include the Turkish Süper Lig, and Russian Premier Leagues, among many others. While these leagues satisfy the gap that major European and American leagues will leave, it will be harder to watch the matches and to find the odds.

No bets equals industry profit loss

If suspensions are prolonged, the number of cancellations of sports events will lead to millions of lost economic activity and will directly affect sports betting revenue.

In Italy alone, betting shops and internet cafes such as Snaitech and Newgioco have been forced to close in compliance with the government’s recently enforced policy.

Meanwhile, UK retail betting continues to experience difficulties after last year’s decrease of maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting. This has caused decreased revenues with top bookmakers such as William Hill and GVC.

If the UK enforces the same emergency health measures as Italy, this would further negatively impact the country’s sports betting industry this year.

What will happen to sports betting in the near future?

Legal Sports Report, an online betting news coverage, has addressed that futures bets will be postponed until there is more clarity on the situation and the date the seasons will continue. For the meantime, some sportsbooks have already withdrawn futures markets of suspended leagues.

However, if more sports events will be cancelled in the future, it could heavily impact sports betting in the UK. Kevin Dale, gambling veteran says.

"If a large number of sports fixtures aren’t played then we have a real problem. There is always the migration from online sports betting to online casino/virtuals betting of course, which could offset some of the pain, but the ‘interest overlap’ between the two is only around 30%."