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The ongoing covid-19 pandemic has had a huge effects on just about every kind of industry there is. The gambling industry is an interesting case as it has benefited from more people signing up to and playing at online casinos while stuck at home, though it has also experienced some negative side-effects. A major one is, of course, the lack of sporting events. For this article, we will focus on football leagues and how their closure has impacted the betting industry.

In spring 2020, all the major football leagues were suspended. A prime example is UEFA Euro 2020, which was originally scheduled for 12 June to 12 July 2020, but ended up getting postponed by a year because of the pandemic. The 2019-2020 Premier League is another good example, as its final matches were delayed by several months and had to be played behind closed doors with no fans in attendance.

It is not just the major international tournaments that have been cancelled; local and regional competitions, as well as individual matches, have all been unable to go ahead. Even though football, along with many other sports, has resumed in lots of places, the fact remains that for much of 2020 there has been a dearth of live sports and that has had a huge impact on the betting industry.

It has been estimated that in March 2020, when the first wave of the pandemic was underway and many countries started introducing lockdown measures, the sports betting market decreased by 31 per cent. Conversely, other areas of online gambling, such as slots, casino games and even betting on virtual sports, all saw increases during this same time period. Throughout spring and into summer, sports betting was considerably down compared with the same time the previous year.

The pandemic has caused many betting shops all over the world to close, some of them permanently. However, sports betting as an industry has been able to weather the storm and survive (though not without losses) because of the fact that sporting events have been able to take place again. The number of events punters can bet on may not be as high as it would have been if the pandemic had not started, but it is more than earlier this year and it is steadily growing.

It is safe to say that 2020 has been something of a 'blip' year. With leagues and matches of all kinds postponed or cancelled, there has been a significant lack of events to bet on. The sports betting industry has indeed suffered and there have been countless job losses. With restrictions easing in many nations, the industry has been able to turn things around and start to grow again.

There has always been a demand for not only sports, but also sports betting. People simply love placing bets on their favourite sports and hopefully making some money in the process. While the pandemic has resulted in there being far fewer opportunities to place bets on sporting events, things have slowly started to return to normal and the number of betting opportunities is steadily increasing. This is a resilient industry that is more than capable of surviving many months of inactivity.

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Marcio Pereira
BlueStream OÜ
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