Much has changed in the iGaming scene, especially in sports betting, as the virtual world takes the spotlight during the coronavirus outbreak.
It has been months since the novel coronavirus erupted in Wuhan, China and then spread like wildfire across the globe. The grave effect of the pandemic not only affected the global economy, as it also made a huge impact on the sports betting industry, for both online sportsbooks and Bitcoin sports betting exchanges.
- Online sportsbooks had no matches to cover as sports organizations chose to cancel or postpone their events.
- Esports tournaments had to be delayed as a response to ensure the health and safety of the pro players and the crew.
- The lack of sports and esports matches led to the rise of sports betting alternatives like virtual sports and friendly esports events.
The question now is: Will sports betting change for good after the pandemic?
With the recent changes and developments in the sports betting scene, it becomes clear that the online sports betting industry will hope for a return to normality and may indeed change once the coronavirus outbreak subsides and when everything returns to normal.
It is a given that once sports organizations get the green light to resume their events, online sportsbooks will once again have odds to offer. Sports bettors could then place their bets as they have done so before the pandemic. The same would apply to the growing esports industry. But there will be two changes that may happen post-COVID-19 outbreak.
One is that sports bettors would then have the option to also bet on virtual sports, thereby expanding the options available to bettors. Virtual sports betting rose to popularity recently as it provides bettors the opportunity to place wagers on their favorite sports, especially football. They can also play football slots during the pandemic. Those who are not aware of virtual sports are better of knowing the history of virtual sports.
The other is the possibility of having professional athletes to trade first-hand action for some virtual gameplay. The pandemic also pushes sports organizations to be creative with their decisions which led to Formula 1 and NASCAR to hold friendly races, featuring pro racers. While the virtual games played by pro players during the outbreak are non-bearing, this may become a new sector that the sports betting sector can look into. Assuring everyone of the race’s credibility, however, should be prioritized to avoid further scandals similar that of Formula 3 driver Daniel Abt, who admitted that he hired a professional gamer to race for him in the Formula 3 Race at Home Challenge in partnership with UNICEF.
But the sure and important change the online sports betting industry will have post-outbreak is the increased attention given to everyone’s health and safety. Professional athletes, event crews, and sportsbook employees must practice cough etiquette and must wash their hands for 20 seconds. The same goes for the sports bettors as focusing more on cleanliness and health will become the new norm as we begin a new chapter after surviving the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, the government is concerned of possible growing gambling addiction due to the outbreak, forcing authorities to impose a ban on gambling advertising.
Meanwhile, even sports betting conferences and events have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, including SBC Digital Summit, which takes places on April 27 to May 1, 2020.
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