Much of the world has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and it has affected many types of industries. The sports betting industry has taken a huge hit, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States.
Sports betting continues to grow in popularity in both countries, but sportsbooks were essentially shut down for three months. Sports betting in both countries is starting to get back on track, but it’s still a relatively slow process.
The two countries had several similarities in terms of sports betting before the pandemic, but that wasn’t the case over the last three months. Each market looked at different ways to stay afloat while finding new ways to offer bets to their customers.
The major similarity between both the United States and the United Kingdom is that both countries lost out on a ton of money throughout the pandemic.
United States Sportsbooks Turn to Obscure Sports
According to a recent survey, at least 30 percent of all sports bettors announced that they bet less on sports over the last three months. Just three percent of those surveyed answered that they have bet on sports more.
Sportsbooks in the United States were unable to find attractive betting options for customers, leaving customers without anything to bet on. All live sports were shut down in the US, and most US customers don’t have any interest in international sports.
Sportsbooks in the US turned to offering bets on obscure sports, such as darts and table tennis. Other sportsbooks began streaming live international events through their sportsbook in hopes of attracting some bets.
Another problem was that some states have very restrictive laws when it comes to sports betting, and sportsbooks were not able to get these laws amended to provide new betting opportunities. All of this added up to a major loss of revenue, and that money cannot be made up.
The state of New Jersey reported a loss of nearly 60 percent in total sports betting handle from May 2020 compared to May 2019. That’s actually an improvement from the numbers that were reported in April.
Football and Horse Racing Hurting UK Market
Football and horse racing make up close to 75 percent of the sports betting market in the UK, and both sports were largely shut down during the pandemic. Some football leagues in Europe will not even finish their season, taking several betting opportunities off of the table.
Online sports betting kept some licensed operators in the UK going during the pandemic, but it also created some problem gambling. Several countries in Europe, including Belgium and Latvia, implemented new laws regarding online sports betting, and the same concerns were felt in the UK.
Sportsbooks in the UK were able to take bets on virtual sporting events during the pandemic, but they still weren’t seeing the same numbers as before. UK sportsbooks have also started to make their way to the United States in an effort to make up for some of the lost revenue more quickly.