What to do when there’s no sports during social distancing
23 March 2020
The recent cancellations of major sports and entertainment events have been a massive blow to industries during the pandemic. First, the Arsenal manager was tested positive for coronavirus, which spurred the cancellation of the following matches. Next, the Grand National, England’s Premier League and the Euros got cancelled among other global sports events over the spreading situation. The Premier League is suspended until the end of April, however, it’s likely the whole season will be cancelled.
Sports betting operators have been making significant losses due to the lack of events. If there’s no sports, there’s nothing else to bet on, right? But operators know how to adapt and the current technology enables them to do it.
Focus on virtuals
Whenever there are no events, operators have virtual events running every few minutes, offering punters betting opportunities 24/7 on horse racing, football, greyhounds, cricket, golf, darts and even speedway. In addition to this, On Demand virtual sports offer an in-play experience with betting opportunities on typical in-play markets
These are shorter events that require no sports knowledge to make a selection. The games use a random number generator to pick a winner, so it’s more objective, and of course, there’s no dependency on the weather or a global pandemic. But of course, it’s not the real sport. Despite this, operators can rely on virtual sports in the absence of live sporting events and it offers an additional form of entertainment to the punters missing their favourite games.
Online gambling isn’t all sports betting, and there’s a large chunk of the business within the iGaming section. Nearly all sports betting operators offer some form of gaming, whether it’s slots, casino games (live or virtual), or bingo and lotto. Operators can direct their customers to these sections to retain customers and decrease drop offs upon landing on their site while sports is on-hold.
Customers might be missing football, so offering them a similar, exciting experience might be a good option at the moment. Also, there are lots of branded up slots available from DC characters to celebrities and TV shows!
In addition, if bingo lovers are unable to visit these venues at the moment, online bingo can be a great substitution as it provides social stimulation, as well as entertainment.
Esports is already a huge market on its own and regular sports betting operators haven’t really touched that area yet. But with more and more people staying indoors, their form of ‘sporting’ entertainment might be video games and esports.
Last week, Steam reported an all-time record with over 20 million online users and about 6.5 million of them were active players. The most popular game was CS:GO. It’s not a coincidence that they’ve reached such a huge number at this time. With schools shutting across the globe, more younger players will be available to play.
While F1 racing is off, some of the professional racers turned to esports to compete. It won’t be long till other sports start creating online tournaments to provide at least a slightly different form of entertainment to their fans.
While operators rightly can’t offer betting to underage customers, there are plenty of adults who enjoy watching esports. There’s a big gap in great esports betting products that truly speak to their audiences. Offering something that has a similar gaming aesthetic, simple odds, great streaming services and providing valuable content around these games might be the key to winning them over.
Invent new markets
The general public love to bet on the next prime minister or Love Island winner, so why not offer more of these wacky markets for the punters? Bet on which country will come up with the vaccine or how many days we’ll all be on lockdown. People get bored and frustrated, and this could brighten up their mood.
Many businesses are struggling due to this unprecedented situation and a lot of this is out of anyone’s control. However, they need to adapt and make the most of this situation. The main option for many is to go fully digital and use the tools available to reach to their customers. While these examples take a lot of preparation and integrations, they can be done with experienced suppliers.
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