18 march 2020 0 comments

Coronavirus and Sports Betting: The Impact So Far

This article covers how the recent coronavirus outbreak has affected the sports betting market in Russia and beyond. Below, you will find short interviews with those who work with traffic directly, analytical data that has already been collected by sports media, and our own opinion, of course. 

Coronavirus ramps up. The business side 

COVID-19 struck its first devastating blow in early 2020, and its first victim was the Italian Serie A tournament. Back then, bookmakers in Russia and abroad claimed that this wouldn’t end up being a problem, as the share of bets on Italian football championships accounted for a mere 2%. 

However, the situation has not shown any signs of improvement since then. One by one, other sporting events across the globe have also been canceled or rescheduled amid concerns about the coronavirus spread. The suspension of the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League (NHL), and Major League Baseball (MLB) seasons came as a blow to many.  

Four days ago, mass media reported on the suspension of the Champions League and European Football Championship. The betting industry is now suffering a substantial financial hit due to a lack of sporting events.   

Igor Stolyarov, Deputy CEO for marketing at major Russian betting company “Liga Stavok”, told RB-Business that the mass cancellation of sporting events would have a considerable impact on bookmakers’ income. 

This whole situation will seriously affect our business. The product itself has not suffered at all, but there is no reason to be optimistic now. The market has already shrunk by 30-35%, although the losses are likely to be less in absolute terms. The losses can be attributed to the cancellations of numerous sporting events, and some of them still remain to be announced. We observe what’s going on closely, but the situation is very grave and will only exacerbate in the short- and mid-term perspective. The worst thing of them all is uncertainty. 

Igor Stolyarov, Deputy CEO for marketing at “Liga Stavok”

Igor Shevchenko, CEO of betting company 888.ru, estimated that the losses in market volume amounted to 19% as of March 12. 

Betting company stocks have tumbled considerably, and that’s a fact. 

For instance, the GVC holding (Ladbrokes Coral, bwin, Sportingbet) and William Hill fell in value by 26.75% and 30.45% respectively.

Prices for some stocks declined by as much as 50% or even more (IGT, Newgioco, Scientific Games). To understand the scope of the problem, enough is to take a look at how prices for some betting company stocks have changed recently:

We reached out to affiliate networks focusing on betting to find out more and shed some light on the current situation.  

As many major sporting events are getting canceled globally, how does it affect betting profits?  

The global betting market is expected to shrink considerably. For the most part, this stems from the cancellation of major sporting events and tournaments. However, our product marketing department is working with players effectively and we have managed to secure a 15% deposit growth despite the rising dollar and euro exchange rate and the coronavirus pandemic.

Alex, Affiliate manager at Pin-up.partners

Coronavirus ramps up. The affiliate side 

Affiliates working with betting are also facing hard times. As the major championships get canceled or postponed, affiliates keep losing their profits. How much their income will drop depends on GEOs and tournaments they focus on. 

Affiliates have to stay tuned with news on the latest cancellations, as well as to always be on the lookout for what is to come and promptly react to any decision taken by the government or tournament hosts. 

What we can recommend is to pay attention to those GEOs and local championships that are not yet responding to the pandemic and rescheduling sporting events. These include South America, Malaysia, Australia, Algeria, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, Kenya, Singapore, Rwanda, Cameroon, and Qatar.  

By the way, we have recently posted an article on the betting market in Africa, so be sure to check it out. 

Has the number of FTDs (or other KPI metrics) gone down? 

The situation in general is pretty unsettling. Many tournaments have been canceled, and the Champions League and Europa League have been suspended. There is a probability that the 2020 Olympics will also be postponed. Most businesses will remain closed in the next couple of weeks, and so many people will turn to online gambling.

That’s why a lot of brands offer both betting and gambling products on one platform. While the bet is being processed, the user can spin some slots. If the bet fails, the user is sometimes redirected to a casino tournament and is encouraged with free spins and bonuses. Don’t forget that 15% of players usually have a casino website or app open while they are interacting with some betting product.

Inessa Yeghiazaryan, Head of PR at the CPA BRO affiliate network 

eSports is the only form of sport competition that was not affected by the coronavirus outbreak. No online tournament has been canceled or postponed recently, while offline events are getting rescheduled one after another. So, if you work with betting, consider shifting your focus to eSports. 

If there are no football matches in the next six months, what would you suggest redirecting traffic to? 

Speaking about sporting events, it’s definitely eSports. All major eSports tournaments are now held online, and so the offline world doesn’t have much influence on it. Anyway, what the sports industry is going through now is temporary, which means the betting industry can change considerably. 

Inessa Yeghiazaryan, Head of PR at the CPA BRO affiliate network 

Conclusions 

Major sporting tournaments are getting canceled. The revenue of betting companies continues to dip. The number of FTDs is dropping. However, this concerns only those countries where the government is taking steps to stop the pandemic.  

In those GEOs where direct measures are lacking, the situation with betting is slightly better. Therefore, we recommend you focus either on these GEOs or on eSports.


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