The COVID Pandemic has affected countless industries throughout the world. The sports betting market is obviously connected to sports. Every sports league throughout the world was impacted by COVID to some degree. Sports betting is almost impossible without sporting events occurring frequently.
The iGaming industry did increase competitions in order to support sportsbooks, but this had a minimal effect on the state of the entire market. Sports betting still took a massive hit.
COVID also impacted bettors in their personal lives. Unemployment skyrocketed all over the world. Many people who were fortunate to keep their jobs still saw their salaries cut and hours minimized. The impact that COVID had on sports and bettors devastated sports betting markets throughout the world. Fortunately, markets are starting to get back to some level of normalcy. Numbers are still down overall, but positive trends have been evident in the betting industry.
The Devastation of COVID on Sports Betting
COVID was a once in a lifetime pandemic. This virus shut down all parts of the economy. There was an extended period when the only competitions that people could bet online were the iGaming events.
iGaming appealed to people who had an itch to bet, but numbers still dipped to an all-time low in markets all over the world. According to Technavio, sports betting will experience a revenue loss of 35.17% in 2020 from the 2019 numbers. The market will still be worth just over $139 billion by 2021.
This is very bad, but betting has shown the ability to rebound when sports leagues started resuming competitions. Another factor that helped sports betting recover were online betting platforms. Without online betting, the industry wouldn’t be anywhere close to where it is today.
Retail books were forced to close doors for an extended period. Online betting was a safe and accessible way for players to test their luck during the heat of the pandemic. The recovery process is underway, and normalcy can start being discussed in the industry.
From 2019 to 2020, the sports betting worldwide market decreased as a whole. However, online betting will see growth this year. In 2019, the worldwide online gambling market had a value of just under $59 billion. The online gambling market is expected to have a value of over $63 billion by the end of 2020. This includes online casino gambling as well, but it still shows the importance of online sports betting throughout the world.
The summer months were some of the best times for sports betting during the COVID pandemic. Nice weather and high hopes made people slowly utilize retail sportsbooks and lock in mobile wagers consistently. Big sports betting markets in Nevada and New Jersey felt this excitement which was clear in their financial reports.
In August of 2020, the total American sports betting handle was $2.1 billion. This gave sportsbooks just under $120 million in revenue. Financially, this was the best figure since the start of the pandemic. The best month prior to August was January 2020 where American sportsbooks generated $138 million in revenue.
New Jersey had an individual handle of $68 million in August of 2020. This was the highest handle of all-time since sports betting was legalized in 2018. Despite this, online wagering dominated this total, so casinos have taken a massive hit since the pandemic.
The lack of support for brick-and-mortar sportsbooks hasn’t been felt collectively in sports betting markets. The return of the NFL and delayed playoff seasons in the NBA and NHL gave bettors something to cling to as the economy reopened.
What Does This Mean?
COVID devastated sports betting markets when the pandemic struck in the winter of 2020. However, the market has seemed to recover better than anyone could have imagined. It’s clear that retail sportsbooks will feel the devastation of the pandemic for the extended future. Although, online betting has allowed markets to show some signs of life.
In a way, COVID made bettors cling to sports betting. This conclusion can be made when you look at the late summer and early fall 2020 numbers. With a COVID vaccine now available, the future of sports betting is very bright.
Sports will be back on a normal schedule and the unemployment rate should continue to decrease. These two factors will allow the sports betting trajectory to stay on the top of online business.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.