Sports Betting Affected As Leagues Shut Down

Sportsbook operators and similar businesses in the US and worldwide are starting to feel the initial consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Although there are still things to bet on and a couple of active leagues, one cannot help but wonder this — what would happen if all sports events stop and there are no available betting options?

One of the events that really poured money into the sportsbooks in the US was March Madness, which is one of the most anticipated sports events. The men’s basketball tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, meaning the expected revenue will be denied to the sportsbooks.

The billions of dollars that are usually wagered on March Madness will definitely affect the industry up to a certain extent.

However, March Madness is not the only thing that got suspended. Namely, the NBA, NHL, and MLS all stopped with any activities due to the coronavirus. Moreover, Major League Baseball also postponed the start of the season.

After that, many college basketball events and tournaments were canceled, and now there are only a couple of betting events available on odds boards.

The NCAA issued an official statement regarding the cancellation of March Madness. The officials stated that they wanted to “ensure the events do not contribute to the spread of the pandemic.”

Moreover, they stated that it was impractical to host any sports events during this time and that they respected the “ongoing decisions by other entities.”

Sportsbooks and Casinos Nationwide Remain Open

Land-based sportsbooks and casinos all over the US remained open on Friday. In fact, the operators are not expecting any stoppages, but they are definitely acknowledging the fact that the situation has become rather unpredictable.

With the reduced number of sporting events, the sportsbooks are likely to close for the time being very soon — at least those that are part of land-based casinos. On the other hand, online sportsbooks could continue to offer a small selection of sports.

For example, esports, which can be conducted remotely, will probably continue to operate up to a certain extent, meaning sportsbooks will have that market covered. Right now, the two biggest regulators in the country — the Nevada Gaming Control Board, and the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement — are keeping quiet about the potential actions in the future.

Nevada and New Jersey are the two states with the biggest casino and sports betting industries, and their actions could affect other regulators to act as well, should the situation becomes grave serious.

Most of the sportsbooks are now offering refunds for the bets that are made on the sports events that are canceled, including the bets made for the NCAA championship. The majority of sportsbooks are adopting the wait-and-see approach, monitoring the situation closely.

They need to know what to do in the future with the bets on the leagues that have been suspended.

Various sportsbooks adopted various approaches regarding the canceled leagues. For example, William Hill US officials stated that their sportsbooks would continue to accept bets on winners of the Eastern and Western Conferences in the NBA.

On the other hand, Caesars Sportsbooks halted all betting options related to the NBA.

One thing is certain — sportsbooks cannot expect to make a profit in the coming couple of months. However, the most important thing at this point is not profit but to stay healthy and stay safe.

Therefore, make sure to avoid public places, and feel free to play online casino games or place bets in online sportsbooks, from the comfort of your home.


A sports enthusiast, Ryan helps cover sports betting news from around the country, highlighting some of the more interesting events going on in the USA.