The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way Americans live their daily life, and some of these changes will continue after COVID-19 passes. Sports betting is one of the industries that has seen major changes over the last few weeks, and it is expected that the sports betting industry could be changed forever.
Sports will eventually return, but it seems less likely that brick-and-mortar sportsbooks return in the same way that they were operating before the pandemic. The world of iGaming has seen tremendous growth in the few weeks that retail sportsbooks have been shut down, and there is reason to believe that the growth will continue in the coming months and years.
Financial analyst Gary Schilling recently provided 13 predictions for a post-coronavirus world, and one of his major predictions included the growth of iGaming. He predicts that online shopping, including online gambling, will see a major growth after all of this passes.
The belief is that the coronavirus pandemic has forced many Americans into doing almost everything online, and that will be the way moving forward. In the world of sports betting, that means that brick and mortar, or retail sportsbooks, could suffer after the restrictions are lifted.
Even though there currently aren’t any live sports to bet on in the United States, online sportsbooks are still seeing plenty of action over the past few weeks. When sports do return, online sportsbooks will be the preferred method of betting for sports fans all over the country. This could also lead to other states passing new legislation to launch mobile betting as customer demand will put extreme pressure on lawmakers.
Leaning On Technology
Americans have been becoming more reliant on technology over the last decade, but there were still other avenues for those people that didn’t want to change. Now, a brand new generation is learning how technology can make their lives more efficient and user-friendly.
Several sportsbooks have produced data that would support the claims from Schilling, and the recent NFL Draft was just one example. Online sportsbooks throughout the country saw action that was equivalent to a Sunday Night Football game with the number of bets that were placed during the first round.
Christopher Justice, President of Global Payment Gaming Solutions, also agrees with the prediction from Schilling but notes that it’s hard to predict the amount of growth. With sports currently being shut down throughout the country, it’s hard to predict how the resumption of sports will play in the growth of iGaming. Justice argues that there will be some growth, but that it will be blended between online and retail sports betting.
“We do not foresee the first week of sports betting rivaling prime betting events like the NFL championships, NCAA Final Four or others. It is important to remember this pandemic is unlike any we have ever experienced. Sports leagues are working to determine the next steps with consideration to federal, state, local and public health authorities. We anticipate each league will determine its own reopening strategy, resulting in variances of time relative to the return of sports betting.”
Sports are going to resume at some point, and sportsbooks are expecting a major bounceback when they do come back. The question is whether or not the first week back will equal other important weeks, such as the Super Bowl or the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Christopher also stated: “We can expect two things to occur: the continued adoption and utilization of iGaming platforms and an accelerated uptick in sports betting online. Whether or not we see one sport gain more interest than another ultimately depends on which sport(s) is in season and most likely to begin.
“However, we do expect for customers to become acclimated to having more channel options available to them for their gaming. We expect some customers will return to the traditional methods of sports betting, some will continue using digital channels, and still others may choose to engage in both.”
Another thing to ponder is if all sports will see a huge amount of action when they come back, or will it stick to the most popular sports. Also, will this recent shutdown of sports give a boost to states that recently launched sports betting before the pandemic?
There are several factors yet to be determined, but it is clear that there will be a growth in iGaming after COVID-19 passes.