When major events leave stadiums empty and casinos closed, the sports-betting companies have to adapt to the lack of live sport, as games are cancelled or postponed.
The industry has been creative in cutting costs to keep their businesses afloat and fans entertained when live sport is in limbo. This includes finding live events that have not previously been considered by sports broadcasters.
Betting Companies Offer Odds On Live Events
When major sporting events including Premier League seasons are put on hold, betting companies go into triage mode. This is in an effort to both protect their business and retain their staff.
They look for live events from across the globe to entertain their punters. In the 2020 coronavirus pandemic bets were offered on Russian table tennis where a professional league is still operating.
Bets have also been offered on darts, horse racing “ghost meetings” from the Hong Kong Jockey Club, sumo wrestling and football from far flung countries such as Belarus, Mexico and Nicaragua.
When soccer was suspended in the Americas, and Australian football was halted down under, Tajikistan remained one of the only countries where its top division of football was able to kick off. All be it in empty stadiums.
In the first week of April 2020 ping pong matches in Ukraine and Russia made up 60 per cent of funds wagered that week, according to Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, other betting opportunities offered by the best betting sites, included events like politics and television. We seen imaginative bets offered, like the one on whether Bernie Sanders would say “millionaire” before “billionaire” in a Democratic presidential debate.
You could also bet on the US or free-to-enter pools around the television show Survivor.
Despite all these stop-gap measures, betting companies still reported a decline in business. A lot of holding companies were reporting profits declining by around 75 per cent across many brands in April.
Esports and Virtual games
Wagers on esports, already a growing industry, became an increased focus with the lack of live sport. Betting companies were dealing with what some have termed the most seismic disruption in the history of sports.
The most popular games to bet on include FIFA, fantasy battle games World of Warcraft, and League of Legends. There are also virtual races, including Nascar.
Betting companies have been investing in esports to attract younger customers, whether players or not.
Betting on esports is becoming mainstream like classic sports betting. You can now bet on the outright winners - both team or individual, or on the number of points scored.
Odds are published well in advance of major tournaments, while in-game events for first-person shooters, multiplayer online battle arena games and real-time strategy games add a different level of excitement for bettors.
As an incentive to punters, bookies offer quality odds and special betting markets for esports.
MOBAs (multiplayer online battle arena games), League of Legends and Dota 2 are the two most popular betting games. They have regional championships and leagues as well as the world championships.
Punters can bet on the winning team, the total number of kills and assists, as well as the winning margin. There are also special bets you can have on the team to destroy the first tower and inhibitor, slay the first Dragon or Baron - or other named monsters.
First-person shooter games
Second in popularity for punters to bet on are first-person shooter games. This include classic games, such as Call of Duty, where punters can bet on the winning team.
You could also bet on the total number of kills and various in-game objectives that differ from one game to the other.
Virtual horse racing came first, alongside many other virtual sports, such as football, tennis and many more.
The outcome of these imaginary teams and athletes is determined exclusively by algorithms. At respectable bookmakers, they are certified as fair by independent auditors, so players are in good hands.