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COVID-19 and professional sports

8th April, 23:35

The coronavirus outbreak has shut down mainstream sporting events for the time being, with severe implications for bookies and gamblers and changing the way gambling is done.

As the Covid-19 has spread to over 150 countries, everything shuts down in an effort to maintain social distancing. Large gatherings were one of the first things banned by governments across the world. These include sporting events which attract thousands of people together.

The Champions League, Euro 2020, NBA, Tennis Grand Slams and Summer Olympics are only a handful of events that are currently suspended. If you open up your betting apps, you will find them to be much emptier than usual. Because of this, bookies and gamblers are trying hard to find games to bet on.

Football is the world's most popular sport with over 3 billion fans worldwide. An analysis by Statista shows that over half of those fans are in some form of a coronavirus lockdown. Cruel that fans are confined to their homes and there is no football to keep them entertained.

Along the various football competitions that have been temporarily suspended or postponed include:

Football is not the only sport affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. A detailed list put together by Sporting Life highlights a few of the major sports affected on top of football:

As the Covid-19 pandemic has brought conventional sports to a halt, one cannot help but wonder what is there to bet on?

It is a messy situation. People are asked to stay home as much as possible. This makes it ideal to watch and bet on sports. But the betting selections are completely different than before the spread of the coronavirus.

Bookies try hard to offer punters betting selections. Some are getting more creative than others in their offerings, including:

While these can keep the bookies and gamblers active, they are high risk bets. Almost all bookies are advertising the handful of professional football events still running as if it were the World Cup competition. These two include the Belarus - Vysshaya Liga and Myanmar National League.

Betting online is the safest and most convenient way to place wagers in this rapidly evolving coronavirus pandemic. Its main advantage is an obvious one: social distancing. You can place bets from the comfort of your own home.

There is no need to be near or interact with people in order to place bets online. All of this is done remotely as long as you have an account and internet connection.

Mobile betting apps make the whole process even more convenient. You don't have to sit in front of your laptop to place an online bet. You can just bet when you're lying down on the couch or even from the bathroom. If you are not sure how to choose, you can use an authoritative review site to find your new betting app.

These apps give you full access to a bookmaker's bonuses and features. You can bet, claim bonuses and even watch live streams of various events. Mobile phones make betting on the go an extremely smooth process.

If you still prefer betting in the shop over the internet, you are out of luck. Most land-based bookmakers are closed. Some were forced to close by the governments, others made the decision on their own. Whether because of social distancing or due to lack of sports, given the Covid-19 context the decision is understandable.

As the coronavirus pandemic keeps unfolding, there are changing implications it has on the sports betting landscape. To begin with, given the social distancing guidelines, punters are pushed to join online bookies.

Online betting has been growing exponentially as it is in the cyberage. This trend is expected to continue during and after the Covid-19 outbreak.

For traditional land-based bookmakers, this tragic pandemic is a wakeup call to move their operations online. While most in-store bookies have an online betting site as well, there are a few that do not. These are typically smaller, local bookmakers that may be forced to go out of business for good.

In fact, online and land based bookmakers are taking a strong hit financially during the coronavirus outbreak. The uncertainty of when professional sports will return back to normal is costing the operators millions in revenues.

GVC Holdings is one of the largest sports betting companies in the world. It owns LadBrokes, Coral, bwin, and Betdaq among other brands. In its corporate update on the financial impact of COVID-19 on sports betting, the company highlights that:

These are alarming figures for the sports betting industry. Especially since it is not known how long this crisis will go on for. While the estimated figures concern only the GVC brands, it is a frightening cost that not all bookmakers may bear.

Hopefully the coronavirus pandemic will come to an end in the near future. Until then, online bookies provide the safest environment for gamblers to place some wagers.

Bookies are finding high risk betting options to fill their betting apps and keep punters active. It is extremely important to practice responsible gambling when approaching these offers. Particularly in times of financial uncertainty due to Covid-19.

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper from this weekend for great features and all the latest news in one place on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on society and football.

In shops on Sundays and Mondays, The NLP is always available as a pound-busting digital edition and full replica of the printed paper from midnight on Saturdays. Save cash on single issues, even more on longer deals and the pages still rustle too!

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