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How Has COVID-19 Changed Sports Betting?

Steve Shoup

The start of the year had been a mixed bag for the gambling industry – as lockdown efforts were put in place and many of us had to stay at home, operators had seen a huge surge in players for mobile casinos as it had quickly become a favourite form of entertainment. There had been changes around this time that made it more difficult for some players to participate as initiatives such as Gamstop were granted more authority, but as popular new sites like the red lion casino review show that avoided these restrictions, player numbers continued to grow.

As the same time, sports betting had effectively halted due to the cancellations and postponements – June saw the return of many events particularly across Europe however with the US following in July and August which saw a huge resurgence of sports betting once again – but a lot of changes were seen, and at least in the short term may have changed how punters bet on their favourites.

The first change seen is in the typical advantage that a team might have – additional points for a home team advantage for example is something  that’s tough to consider now, without any fans in attendance it dramatically changes the dynamic of the game in a sense where home advantage may hold much less weight than it previously did. There have been factors of fitness to consider too, the long layoffs and shorter practice periods may have hurt some teams more than others and take a little time to get back into the swing of things – early events saw huge upsets because of this and led to some very unexpected results. Another popular form of betting is futures bets – for example betting on a team to win a back to back championship, but if one player is to come down with the virus and miss games this could potentially end a season run for the team and the outcome of this futures bet.

(Image from theconversation.com)

There is a lot of positivity in the market though and suggestions that the changes are for the better – it has been suggested that because of the increasing number of viewers at home and the fact that attending games may yet be a while away, we could see record numbers in betting in certain sports as those who may not have considered betting before become more likely to do so as a way to feel a little more involved with the sport. Johnny Avello, head of sportsbooks for DraftKings, stated; “I’m expecting a stellar season out of football. Because of the virus, people are still going to be largely at home and are going to bet more than they were” – whilst there are some warnings of volatility in sports betting whilst many bookmakers get their feet underneath them again, as mentioned there’s plenty of optimism from the big names in the industry moving forward that the return of some different leagues could mean record numbers of players, record numbers of bets, and record numbers of payouts.



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