The global economy took a serious hit during
COVID-19 as businesses shut down for months on end. The gambling industry
suffered a similar fate. Although various online businesses made it to the
forefront by jumping on the new opportunity, most land-based businesses
couldn’t replicate the success.
Over the last six months, since all
non-essential industries shut down in March 2020, notable UK-based GVC Holdings
recorded a 50% YoY decline in the net retail gaming revenue compared to the
same period last year. Even as online gambling opportunities surfaced,
brick-and-mortar operations suffered.
The story is similar, if not worse, for the
sports betting industry. With almost all major tournaments standing canceled or
postponed, bookies witnessed revenues crashing instantly. Experts believe the
slump will continue well into the 2020-21 season, posting a 27% reduction in
revenue compared to earlier projections.
Adapting to Change
In the face of adversity, the gambling industry changed its standard operational procedure. Perhaps the best example of the move is a shift in sports betting trends from horse racing and football to esports. According to reports, esports Gross Gambling Yield increased by 2,992% to £1.5 million through March 2020, and the figures further rose 124% in April and 36% in May.
The numbers clearly indicate people’s shifting
interests. While esports was always popular among enthusiasts, sports betting
introduced the genre to a whole new audience, who are just as thrilled. Even as
lockdown restrictions are slowly being lifted, the demand for online gambling
and esports betting is projected to remain high.
Sports betting remains the likely candidate to
help brick-and-mortar bookies get back up on their feet. And the results have
been positive so far. With major sporting events resuming since May, revenue
streams have picked up. From £104 million in May, the figures jumped to £255.4
million in June.
Hurdles and Solutions
One of the major highlights of sports betting
is live-action. With social distancing regulations keeping the crowds away from
the stands, wagering during live events like horse racing is considerably down.
However, the authorities are planning to reintroduce spectators at the venue,
albeit in much fewer numbers, to test the water.
With Premier League resuming earlier in September, sports betting is slowly getting back on track. And the volume is expected to gain a massive boost with the 2020 UEFA Euro Tournament and the Olympics arriving next summer. The YoY sports betting revenue in 2021-22 is likely to rise by 23.9%.
However, with the tides turning towards online
gambling, brick-and-mortar establishments could suffer a minor setback. But
with physical operators enjoying greater flexibility over their online
counterparts, the difference shouldn’t be significant.
Despite the technological evolution,
land-based casinos and gambling operators enjoy the support of a robust
fanbase, which should suffice to keep the bookies afloat during the pandemic
and help the industry recover within record time. If you’d like to try your
hands at online sports wagering, visit NJ Punter.