Covid19 Lockdown – what next for the sports betting industry?

As the deadly covid-19 disease continues to ravage the entire world, economies and industries have ground to a halt, and the sports sector is no different. Given that sporting events tend to attract a large gathering of supporters – a major catalyst for the spread of the virus – it came as no surprise that these events were one of the first big victims of the covid-19 pandemic.

This unprecedented lockdown has led to sport outfits incurring huge losses, and players having to take huge wage cuts. One sector, however, that is perhaps, one of the most badly hit by the lack of sporting activities caused by the covid-19 diseases is the sports betting industry. Given that there can be no sports betting without sporting activities, gambling sites have lost their relevance, leading to low patronage, and an equal drop in revenue.

This sentiment is echoed by Akin Alabi, owner of popular Nigerian sports betting outfit, Nairabet. In his words, sports betting is business that has been badly hit by the global lockdown, with no sports translating to no deposits, and zero income. Betting companies, however, are not the only ones affected by this pandemic, as individuals who rely on sports betting to make a living, one way or the other, have had their means of livelihood cut off. Agents who run bet shops have been forced to shut down, effectively bringing an end to the commission they earn when patronized by gamblers.

In the same vein, gamblers are not left out of the mix as they haven’t been able to place bets, thereby leading to a drop in revenue. In times like this, when people can’t go out to work, the decline of the online gambling industry, which could serve as an alternative source of income, is a massive blow.

Is Virtual Betting a Viable Solution?

Although there might be little to no sport activities going on around the world for people to stake on, virtual betting provides an interesting replacement option for gamblers. The number of betting options available, with users able to stake on simulated football matches, horse races, dog fights etc., also makes virtual betting a worthwhile choice.

However, as compared to real sporting events, virtual sports are entirely based on luck, and there’s no way for users to predict the outcome of an event. What this means is, one is equally liable to lose huge amounts of money, as they are to make an equally large profit.

Furthermore, the commission bet agents earn from virtual betting is nothing, compared to what they earn from bets placed on real sporting events.

In addition, virtual games are quite addictive, with it being very easy for one to go from hero to zero, and with the economic uncertainties facing the world at the moment, participating in such a venture is not necessarily a wise move.

The Slow, But Steady Rise of Online Casinos

One man’s meat is another man’s poison, they say, and the dearth of sporting activities to bet on, has led to a corresponding increase in another form of gambling – online casinos.

Social distancing measures initiated to control the spread of the virus means those who would otherwise visit casinos to spin for cash, are left with no choice, but to do that on their smartphones. And most people have found this to be even more convenient. Chip in the fact that most of the classic casino game options are also available on mobile, and you find that more people are switching to online casinos.

Hence, while the covid19 induced lockdown persists, one can expect online casinos to steadily increase in popularity, and eventually overtake sports betting as the number one means of making cash through gambling.

What Happens When Sports Returns?

With the covid-19 pandemic looking likely to rage on for the foreseeable future, there’s every possibility of people losing interest in sports betting, and finding other means of making money. And that is understandable, given that there’s nothing worthwhile to bet on.

However, sports betting is a highly lucrative business, and the allure of possibly making millions on a weekly or monthly basis will prove to be too much for people to resist. Hence, betting companies can rest easy with the knowledge that when sport makes a return, they’ll be right back in business.

In the meantime, however, these companies have to deal with massive revenue loss, and try to stay afloat to ensure they’re still in the game when sport makes its inevitable return.

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