Gambling in The UK Sees Sharp Decline Due to COVID-19

Gambling in The UK Sees Sharp Decline Due to COVID-19

The British gambling industry is facing an unprecedented crisis. With the COVID-19 pandemic resulting in shutdowns and social distancing advisories, casinos in the country have been shuttered. On the other hand, sports betting is also reeling under pressure as major sporting events have been canceled. The situation is similar to that of the US where operators are worried about revenues.

The situation is unique in the UK

Horse racing and football are two of the largest events in the British sports betting scene, taking up 75% of the market. Both events remain suspended as of now. Industry body Betting and Gaming Council’s chief executive Michael Dugher said that the levels of gambling in the country have not only plummeted because of betting shop closures but also because of a lack of sporting events.

Gambling in The UK Sees Sharp Decline Due to COVID-19

In the year ending March 2019, sports betting helped British bookmakers earn £1.4 billion. This year, their profits will be very low. As live sports were absent the shares of prominent bookmakers like Flutter Entertainment, William Hill and GVC Holdings dropped in double digits. This would also have a lasting impact on 50,000 jobs in the UK betting outlets and an additional 10,000 jobs with the online betting sector. However, this is the first time in recent history that the government has offered business rates holiday to the gaming industry to help preserve these jobs.

How is the online betting industry running?

As most major sporting events have been canceled, the bookmakers have to be content with whatever remaining events that they can find. Virtual sporting events are taking a lead at this time as players are fighting a battle of supremacy in a virtual world. Interestingly, an advanced CGI version of the Grand National will replace the original event’s telecast this Saturday. Lottery games and virtual events were responsible for only 13% of the British bookmakers’ profits in 2019. It is unclear if these two offerings will be able to do enough to save them from massive losses this year.

Some British bookmakers have a presence in the US market as well, where states have started opening up to legalized sports betting. The American Gaming Association believes that the shutdowns could actually be a boon for the industry as the governments may pass sports betting bills to help make up for their revenue losses because of the coronavirus pandemic.

About sherlock

Sherlock Gomes loves to write and express his views on anything related to Gaming, Gambling, & Casino. He has been covering Gaming for more than two years now.