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Sports betting industry counting the cost of the global pandemic
30th March, 10:06The global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the sporting calendar around the world, which in turn has had an inevitable knock-on effect on the sports betting business.
The reality is that the betting industry is one of many in which jobs are clearly at risk, with the distinct lack of sporting action having an immediate impact on sports betting revenues.
In the grand scheme of things, the struggles of the sports betting world isn't going to generate a great deal of sympathy. However, there are jobs at risk both directly and indirectly. Many sports events are also heavily reliant on income from sports betting sponsorship which, with many company share prices on the floor, might prove to be an issue going forward.
In terms of customers, much will need to be done over the coming months with regards to brand affinity and in regaining the interest of casual gamblers.
Australia is at least currently able to provide some sports betting opportunities for punters, with horse racing, harness racing and greyhound racing all continuing to operate unless explicitly prohibited by health advice.
All three have been racing without trackside crowds and with the number of people on course having been reduced to "essential" personnel, with social distancing rules put in place to stop person-to-person contact.
The availability of these sports also means that there are still a number of opportunities when it comes to using free bets for new users 2020.
There are other sporting tournaments taking place elsewhere too, with Belarus providing the only domestic league soccer action in Europe. The big game on Saturday saw FC Slutsk taking on Dinamo Brest.
In addition, there is also table tennis from Russia and Ukraine, tennis from Russia and badminton from Slovakia. There is also some horse racing, ice hockey and cricket available to bet on if you look. It's not exactly high-profile stuff though and it's clearly not easy to market these events from the bookies' perspective.
Other sports have been harder hit by total shutdowns, with the NRL season having been indefinitely suspended on Monday, the AFL last Sunday and the A-League likewise on Tuesday.
The major bookies can also focus on the likes of their casino, poker, bingo and e-sports offerings to ensure they keep things ticking over, particularly with something of a captive audience at a time of lockdown in many parts of the world.
Sport and sports betting will inevitably return at some point in the future and there are sure to be a plethora of free bets and betting promotions on offer as the betting industry looks to ensure that they can get their customers back. The big question is exactly when that might be.