There is no denying it, the coronavirus has impacted almost every single industry on the planet during this pandemic. Companies have started to realize just how fragile their infrastructure truly is, and they have already witnessed the severe financial implications should they not adapt to how they conduct business in 2020. This has been particularly evident regarding physical sportsbooks from all over the world. The COVID-19 has provoked the subsequent closure of major casinos that contain sportsbooks on multiple continents including Europe, North America, and Australia.
Simply put, if nobody can head to the casinos to place a bet because they’re closed, the casino is not making any money. However, with the way things have developed, could this be a catalyst for a major change in how physical sportsbooks operate? This is a question that we have thought long and hard about recently, and we have provided our opinions on this throughout this short read.
Impact in Europe
Europe has seen some of the worst impacts of the coronavirus of any other continent. There have been major lockdowns in Italy, Spain, France, and now the UK. These countries have put strict lockdown measures in place to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, and all non-essential businesses have been ordered to close by the government. Of course, this includes physical casinos as they would be deemed as a non-essential service.
The loss of revenue from sportsbook closures will already be in the millions after just weeks of lockdown, and this will be even worse for some of the most prestigious casinos on this continent. Places such as Casino Estoril in Portugal, King’s Resort in the Czech Republic, and more recently, Casino de Monte-Carlo have all now closed until further notice due to COVID-19.
Impact on North America
Unfortunately, it would seem like North America is poised to become one of the worst-hit regions on the planet. Places like New York and New Jersey are already experiencing horrific numbers of infections and deaths from coronavirus, and these states are now in complete lockdown until further notice. In New Jersey where they have Atlantic City, major casinos like Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, and Tropicana are all closed, with millions in revenue losses already reported.
Sadly until this pandemic is under control in North America, it would seem that these casinos will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Of course, this means that players are unable to venture to places like Atlantic City to make any sports bets, which is driving the attention into the online market – we will get to this at the end of this article.
Impact in Australia
The impact of sports betting in Australia has not been as severe as it has been in North America and Europe, but the government is already taking evasive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. With the government putting movement restrictions in place and shutting down non-essential businesses after just a few reported cases, it would seem that Australia is showing the world how to combat a coronavirus outbreak. However, the fact remains that casinos are not essential businesses and they have been shut down also.
What can we expect to see?
With the impact that we have already seen in the casino and sportsbook industry on these three continents, there are a couple of things we would expect to change:
- A surge in the virtual sports industry
We have already seen evidence of this coming to fruition in both North America and Europe. The recent Grand National race in the UK was a prime example, as since horse racing has been shut down until this pandemic is under control, a virtual Grand National took place. They had real betting markets and people wagered real money. It would seem like the perfect solution when real sports betting is not possible.
Also in North America, Nevada has started to accept sports bets for virtual NASCAR racing, but there are also virtual sports like soccer as well as horse racing in general.
- More online sportsbooks coming to market
This would also seem like a prime possibility as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. If sports fans cannot physically enter casinos and check out sports betting markets, they will simply have to make sports bets online. While the coronavirus is a bit of an extreme example since the global sport has been shut down on a large scale, it would still seem a feasible solution for more sportsbooks to go online in preparation for if this was to ever happen again.
Needless to say, this gives sports fans the chance to still enjoy betting on the sport without going outside and traveling to physical sportsbook locations.