Sports betting has been gaining major traction in the USA in recent years. From the early days of sports betting only being permitted in Nevada, the country has now exploded with interest in legalizing sports betting across numerous states. In fact, ever since New Jersey became the first state to fully legalize sports betting back in 2018, a total of 17 states have now fully legalized this activity.
While 17 already have passed a bill to allow for sports betting, there are countless other states that have either passed bills or are in the process of getting it legalized. There were numerous states that had planned to launch in time for March Madness, which has sadly been put on hold giving the COVID-19 outbreak.
In Europe where sports betting is already well established, many operators face major losses on revenue from canceled sports events. Most betting sites online are still operational but the question is for how long and some operators may not fully recover. To survive the coronavirus storm they must find new, perhaps even “out of the box” betting markets like virtual sports but those that do are expected to come back stronger than ever. In the US, however, there is a major concern now that the coronavirus may have put up a serious road-block in terms of the momentum legalizing sports betting had built up in the USA.
Leagues that have been stopped by the coronavirus
Sadly, the USA has been one of the countries that have just been decimated by the coronavirus, both economically and in terms of human life. States like New York and New Jersey are looking particularly bleak right now, with thousands of deaths already and signs that things won’t be returning to normal anytime soon. Needless to say, almost all of the major leagues in the USA have been stopped due to the outbreak.
First of all, March Madness was completely canceled, which is an event that normally pulls in hundreds if not millions in revenue for sports betting sites. Almost at the same time, the NBA, NHL, NFL, and all NCAA competitions were completely canceled until further notice. This has obviously been devastating for sports fans, sports bettors, and players alike, and we really hope that things turn around soon.
States that have suffered the most
Aside from the economic and health impacts, certain states have suffered intensely for their sports betting industries. Mainly, those states that have already been accepting sports bets have been the worst hit. States like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, West Virginia, Nevada, and Michigan have lost vast sums of money from sports being canceled. Since these states already had sports betting legalized, they had no doubt planned their expansions based on revenue forecasts, which have since hit zero.
While these states have had their current sports betting revenues slashed to practically nothing, it is the states that had just passed bills that will now lose all momentum with sports betting. Here we are referring to states like Tennessee, DC, North Carolina, Colorado, and a couple of others. These are states that had approved all of the necessary legislation, and a few of them had planned for sportsbooks to hit the online market in March/April. Now with the coronavirus pandemic, attention could not be further away from sports and sports betting, which will inevitably cripple the momentum.
The cold hard facts
Sports betting in the USA is one of the most anticipated markets to open for the entire betting industry. Open in this sense means the legalization of sports betting across the majority of states, and things really had been looking promising until now. In 2019, $8.5 billion was wagered from sports fans on March Madness, which was reduced to absolute zero following the cancelation of the event.
That is clearly a rather large sum of money, but it gets worse too. If you look at sportsbooks in Nevada, they take on almost $500 million per month in sports bets, which has just been obliterated by the coronavirus outbreak. There are still sports taking place around the world, but all major leagues and events have been canceled. If we take a look at New Jersey’s numbers things are looking even more worrying.
In last year’s March Madness event, sportsbooks in New Jersey enjoyed revenues of around $32 million, which has also been reduced to nothing last month. With sports betting being such a huge part of any online betting site revenue, these really are some concerning times indeed.
Although the USA sports betting industry has clearly suffered a major setback due to the cancelation of March Madness, NBA, and other leagues, we are sure that they will recover.