U.S. Sportsbooks Take A Hit As Coronavirus Spreads, March Madness CanceledPublished March 18, 2020 by Elana K
With no March Madness or major league sports to bet on, bettors are turning toward future bets, like picking the winners of major sporting events like the Super Bowl and World Series.
The world at large is shutting down due to the spread of Coronavirus, and sports betting in the U.S. is no different. For the first time, March Madness has been canceled and the NBA season has been suspended indefinitely. The start of Major League Baseball has been delayed and hockey has been postponed indefinitely.
Las Vegas & Others Getting Hit Hard
In 2019, Nevada sportsbooks reported a nearly $600 million handle, the majority of which came from March Madness. This year, bets that were already placed on March Madness will likely be refunded, which means not only zero profit, but significant losses for Vegas sportsbooks.
As a result, Wynn Resorts in Las Vegas has temporarily closed down all of its salons, poker rooms, and its sportsbook. MGM will also begin cutting back on staff during a period that is normally flooded with bets and work.
In states like Michigan, in which a portion of the revenue from sports betting was expected to be funneled toward education, the effect of Coronavirus is magnified. Mike Huff, a sports lawyer at Mika Meyers PLC in Grand Rapids, commented, “Certainly the state projected to have revenue going into the school aid fund. That will likely be substantially less now than what the initial expectations were."
Is There Anything Left to Bet On?
With no March Madness or major league sports to bet on, bettors are turning toward future bets, like picking the winners of major sporting events like the Super Bowl and World Series. “Chris Andrews, the sportsbook director at the South Point Hotel Casino & Spa in Las Vegas, said of these new kinds of bets, “It’s kind of funny in some ways, but sad in others that this is all we have to bet on, but people are betting it.”
William Hill, which has sports betting operations in 9 states, is currently working with gaming authorities to add more, different events for sports bettors to bet on.