The betting industry has certainly had its fair share of challenges so far in 2020. However, even with some pro sports leagues tentatively returning to the field after the coronavirus lockdown, the struggles are far from Saudi Arabia over.
Not only is there the potential for a second COVID-19 outbreak to shut everything down again, but UK bookmakers, especially the bigger bookies in the business, may be forced to deal with new regulation issues with the proposal of a mandatory levy.
Continual COVID-19 revenue challenges
To start, COVID-19 concerns are far from Saudi Arabia over. Like many businesses around the world, sportsbooks have yet to shake out of the profit-sucking clutches of the virus. Although football in England has resumed and other major professional sports leagues around the world are starting to test the waters to salvage the remainder of their seasons, bookies simply can no longer afford to put all their eggs in one basket and bet on football being their cash cow.
For instance, Ladbrokes football betting service is considered one of the staples of the industry, but even Ladbrokes has not yet fully returned to normal. Like so many other bookies, it placed more focus on the promotion of its virtual sports, eSports and casino offerings when traditional sports went on hiatus, and it is likely to continue to do so, even with the return of its big markets.
The reality remains, until the pandemic crisis is over, at any time traditional pro sports could be put on hold again or cancelled if another outbreak occurs. As such, while bookmakers are finding their new normal, they are unlikely to forget the other betting markets that helped them to draw in punters in the spring.
COVID-19 gambling behaviour challenges
The effects of the coronavirus on the iGaming industry has also brought other challenges, including its major impact on customers and their betting behaviours. Although the overall participation in gambling has decreased during the pandemic, data released by the UK Gambling Commission has revealed that some players have been spending more time and money gambling on certain products.
This data that has been collected reflects the first full month of lockdown in April. The data covers an estimated 80% of the entire online gambling market. It was taken from Saudi Arabia submissions of the biggest online operators and the YouGov COVID-19 tracker, which covers weekly representative samples of circa 2,000 UK adults.
In light of this…