Loss of Sports Betting Sends Gamblers to Online Casinos

  • Most sporting events have now been canceled over COVID-19 outbreak
  • Trend due to increase in TV ads for online gambling, availability to play on social media 
  • GVC also noted virtual racing is on the up, Playtech reported rise in bingo and poker play
  • Researchers warn gambling industry as we know it might change due to virus crisis
man playing online poker on tablet
With most sporting events now canceled over the coronavirus outbreak, bettors seem to be turning to online casino games. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Most sports events are off the calendar

Now that most sports events have been shut down for the next few months, some customers who had previously bet on sports are turning to online casino games. Operators GVC and Playtech have both confirmed the trend.

The move is thought to be in part due to a large advertising campaign on television since the sporting events shut down. It is also thanks to the integration of gambling apps that are now made easily accessible through social media.

“Not closed for business”

According to the Financial Times, GVC chief executive Kenny Alexander said the company was not closed for business. With sports fixtures canceled and high street shops shut down due to the coronavirus outbreak, enticing customers to play online casino games instead is “working reasonably well.” GVC owns British betting company Ladbrokes Coral.

enticing customers to play online casino games instead is “working reasonably well”

He added that, despite the suspension of major sporting events such as the Grand National, virtual racing is on the up. The software was first put in place after the 2007 foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the UK also caused races to be postponed.

Poker and bingo doing well

Gambling technology provider Playtech has reported an increase in customers playing both poker and bingo games, although it has been cautious about celebrating too early. They believe player behavior could change the longer the crisis over the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

With the current ongoing inquiry into UK gambling regulation and the uncertain climate, experts believe a backlash against the industry could be on the cards. This could be exacerbated by a loss of income and poor mental health during the health crisis, which could, in turn, lead to gambling addiction. Dan Waugh from Regulus Partners, a gambling research company, is warning that this could be:

The end of the gambling industry as we know it.”

This was expressed in view of the recently announced offer of government loans for struggling businesses in the UK. If public perception of the industry changes, then the UK government may change its mind or impose restrictions for loan takers.

Share drops and profit warnings

Companies have already released profit warnings, while share prices have tumbled over the last week or so. 45% of GVC’s earnings comes from sports wagers, and initial forecasts show that the company could wipe off around £150m in revenue this year.

Flutter Entertainment has forecast a similar reduction of around £110m. William Hill is already in a negotiating position with banks over its lack of cash.

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