Coronavirus has decimated many industries, not at least the airline and tourism sector and the sports betting industry, especially in Europe, is another one. Local bookmakers and global betting operators have reported catastrophic losses during the COVID-19 epidemic. Many of these bookmakers are hanging on by a thread right now as sports events slowly start to reopen around the world. The total impact on the betting industry by the Coronavirus emergency is still to be evaluated. William Hill has reported a 57% drop in revenue and they are not the only ones. The impact on the betting industry as such is not difficult to understand. Naturally, since sports betting was put to a halt around the world people have not been able to bet on sports – it’s as simple as that. No people betting means no revenue coming in from sports. Needless to say, this isn’t a good scenario if sports betting contributes a significant figure to the bottom line. the bookies who have a large portion of their revenue coming from sports betting are under a lot of stress to recover.
Looking at the tactics taken by some of the large betting operators during the time of the crisis we can identify 3 major trends in how online betting sites have adjusted their models following the coronavirus – Let’s take a look.
- Shift From Betting To Other Games
Many online bookies have tried to diversify their gaming products without transforming into an online casino or social gaming platform. Well, working from logic, it would seem in bookmakers’ best interests to diversify their offerings to protect against this in the future. For example, if a bookmaker had 80% of its total profits coming from sports betting on an annual basis, it would be on the brink of financial ruin right now – like many of them are in fact.
However, those sites that have more of a balanced offering such as 60% sports betting to 40% casino profits have reported doing a lot better during the crisis. The coronavirus has highlighted just how vulnerable a business is if they only rely on sports betting profits so heavily, which is why we could expect even more diversification in the future.
- Shift From Traditional Sports To e-Sports & Virtual Sports
This is quite an interesting one, and it isn’t something that should be ignored by any means. Virtual sports have been slowly growing in popularity almost undetected in recent years, although the coronavirus brought attention to virtual sports in a big way. The same is true for the eSports industry that has finally got the attention it deserves!
Those betting sites that have had ongoing virtual sports leagues such as football, basketball, or horse racing will still have been doing okay on the revenue front. One of the best examples of people turning to virtual sports betting was when the virtual Grand National was held in the UK a few weeks ago.
Sports bettors spent thousands on the event due to the absence of real-life sports taking place, so it just goes to show that virtual sports are not a bad option at all. It becomes even more interesting when we look at operators who have introduced completely new betting markets not related to sports. One interesting example is Betfair in Australia who opened up betting on property costs in several parts of Australia. While the real estate industry is shaking due to COVID-19, residential property prices go up and down creating a “betting market”.
- Tons of Bonuses
This isn’t a major model change as such, but it is definitely something that could happen following the return of sports around the world. As you all probably know, betting sites can be particularly generous with welcome offers but then the reload offers can be infrequent and small. With so much revenue already lost on sports betting in 2020, we believe that betting sites will be desperate to get punters back in and spending money.
What better way to do this than to serve up a wealth of bonuses and promotions to justify customers coming back to the site? Of course, we do not know yet what sports will make their return first, but we have a feeling that promotions will come flying out the door as soon as they do.
This basically guarantees that sports bettors can take advantage of free bets, deposit matches, insurance, parlay boosts, and many other forms of bonuses once the sporting world reopens.
What happens now?
This article has focused on the sports betting industry but there are also many other businesses dependent on sports events for their revenue and considering all revenue coming from global sports events, not only betting, the total loss is estimated at $12 billion but it may be even higher. We are talking about stadiums that lost their income, arena employees who lost their jobs, and more. It will take time before every part of this large industry has recovered. We would love to provide you with some incredibly optimistic information here, but unfortunately, like many other industries around the world, we will all just have to sit and wait. Lockdowns are lifted but it will take a long time before businesses recover. As sad as this is to say, we are still at the mercy of the virus right now concerning new potential outbreaks that may lead to new lockdowns. It is still not clear when it will be safe for sports to take place on a large scale again.
That doesn’t mean that things are not looking promising, however, as many countries have already started to reopen and release themselves from lockdown. If you are anything like us, you will be chomping at the bit for sports to get back in action, and when they do, we are sure it’s all going to be bigger and better than ever!