The NBA and MLB Anticipated Return to Action Builds Betting Demand

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Almost every major industry in the world has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus in one way or another. The online gambling industry has been a perfect example. Online sites offering casino games have surged the past few months. Yet, most of that growth came at the expense of the online sports betting segment of the business.

Live betting on sports and sporting events came to an abrupt halt in mid-March when the initial impacts of COVID-19 first hit. Horse betting prevailed at select tracks while NASCAR was back in business by mid-May.

Esports generated some betting interest and international soccer leagues are dominating the betting boards at several online books heading into the month of July. Online books have done their best to add as many betting options as possible to keep their customers engaged.

Nonetheless, traveling on the real road to recovery in the sports betting industry will not begin until the major sports betting leagues in the US are back on the court, field and ice.

The NBA and the NHL have formulated plans to return to action at the end of July. The main focus will be each sport’s postseason push to a 2020 league championship.

The new MLB season never even got off the ground. The plan for that popular betting sport is a 60-game regular season schedule starting on July 24.

Up and coming online players such as DraftKings and FanDuel have been able the weather the storm much better than many NJ betting sites. DraftKings Sportsbook went public in April and the company’s market value has soared due to a recent stock offering.

Most industry experts would agree that the overall effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been severe. Yet, they are also quick to point out that the negative impact is still temporary. The overall attitude remains bullish for a full recovery in the coming months.

There is also a general belief that pent-up demand will get the sports betting restart in late July and early August will lead to a booming jump right out of the gate. Sports betting sites such as DraftKings and FanDuel are banking heavily on this notion as well.

As noted on, Jefferies equity research analyst David Katz summed things up as follows in a June 22 call with DraftKings’ investors:

We expect that post-COVID, the engagement with digital leisure, the pent-up appetite for sports and political realities should position DraftKings (DKNG) to accelerate. What’s more, our proprietary survey supports the view that sports betting is a highly social endeavor more so under current circumstances.

Right now, there are seven states with legal online sportsbooks led by:

DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbooks have successfully positioned their online betting sites as industry frontrunners, with Pointsbet, Unibet, and BetMGM far behind in terms of market share.

Leading the rebound will be the NBA and MLB as far as general betting revenue. The time in the spotlight will be short-lived as the NFL plans to kick off its new season on schedule in early September.

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