Wagering In The Time Of COVID-19
June 17, 2020
COVID-19 has put the gambling industry on edge to say the least. The very real implications for the world economy extend deeply into the gambling industry as well. Some of the major players looking to take a leap into the United States in the near future are facing some severe headwinds, but some are starting to show signs of life again.
The famous British bookie known as William Hill sustained a major hit to its profits in the last three to four months as a result of COVID-19. They had to shutter many of their brick and mortar locations and turned to relying on Internet gambling revenues almost exclusively. That resulted in a 32% hit to profits year-over-year for a company not used to that kind of damage.
William Hill is seeing a lot of moves towards online gambling anyway. They took the extreme option around 700 betting shops in the United Kingdom after a July 2019 ruling by the government that the fixed odds betting terminals that are so popular in William Hill and other bookies could only take a maximum bet of two pounds per play. That was not going to keep the book profitable enough in the mind of the company, so they opted to shut down a great number of their locations instead.
This wave of issues along with the fact that COVID-19 has forced a lot of people indoors has meant that William Hill has looked at how to make their online gambling venues that much more interesting. They are seeing a nice rise in their revenues there, and this excites those who are looking at possible William Hill expansion into the United States.
The company is additionally enthusiastic about seeing United States players wagering on a lot of international events at the moment. The domestic sports market in the United States is largely shuttered at the moment, and that has opened the door to allow for wagering on international sporting events. William Hill hopes that this keeps up as they would have plenty of experience in offering wagering on events outside of the United States.
There is a lot to be optimistic about in the world of online gambling even if it doesn’t seem so at first blush. People should take heart that the forced time indoors is sure to spur some people to take on wagering for the first time in their lives. They may just find that they enjoy it and want to continue playing once this pandemic is over.