The second wave of coronavirus will affect esports betting. Are bookmakers ready for it?
The second wave of the coronavirus crisis is hitting most of the European countries. While many have already implemented lockdown policies, others are choosing to impose curfews to control the spread of the virus. We can expect that at least for the next few months, the majority of the population will have to spend most of their time at home.
Every bookmaker experienced a huge surge in esports betting volume during the first wave of the coronavirus, both in simulators such as FIFA or NBA2K and core esports like CS:GO or League of Legends. With most of the traditional sports suspended, esports betting became more and more popular. As soon as traditional sports came back into action, simulators lost most of their growth. Even though the core esports too experienced a decrease in volume, in many cases they became an essential part of operators’ proposition.
Can we expect a similar situation in the second wave of the coronavirus?
For now, organizers from the major sports competitions are not considering another suspension similar to that which occurred in March-April this year. However, as many countries are reporting a substantial increase in their detected COVID-19 cases per day, this is an option we can’t discard in the short/medium term. What we do know, for sure, is that the betting landscape in the next couple of months looks challenging, but esports can surely help to fill the void. The current timeline of the other major traditional sports will also aid in the increase of esports betting:
Tennis: The ATP/WTA season will end in November with just 4 tournaments being played. The Davis cup, one of the major events of the year, which was planned for 23-29 November, has been suspended. This sport is very sensitive to coronavirus since it requires the players to travel around the world every week, facing different legislations. The season is expected to start again in January, with the Australian Open on 18 January as the first major tournament.
NBA: The league is still planning the start of the new season. What we know for sure is that it will not be sooner than 22 December.
Other American sports: other popular leagues such as NHL or MLB will have to wait until 2021 for the start of the new season.
We can expect the volume on esports betting to experience a considerable increase once again due to the following two factors: fewer options to place bets on traditional sports, and punters spending more of their entertainment time at home due to the COVID-19 mobility restrictions. This will be another great opportunity for bookmakers to improve their esports offerings.
Since it is a relatively young market, it is still common to find non-engaging live-betting offerings, even coming from major bookmakers: very low uptime and a small number of different live markets. This is the right time to invest in esports and take advantage of the peak in demand that is expected to occur in the upcoming months. By doing this, bookmakers will not just follow this particular trend but will lay a foundation for the future: younger generations love esports.
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