The coronavirus pandemic has shut down almost all retail sportsbooks in the United States, outside of the Seminole Tribe casinos in Florida. The sports world has also been shut down, leaving online sportsbooks without any bets to offer.
Sportsbooks have continued to try to come up with creative ideas to stay open and make some money, and most are now looking into offering bets on obscure sports that are played in other parts of the world.
William Hill and Bovada are two of the biggest online sportsbooks in the industry, and they have been scouring the sports calendar in hopes of finding something that they can offer to their customers.
Bovada has taken to offering prop bets as a way to bring in some new business. Most of the prop bets are centered around things that will happen when the sports betting world will pick back up, and therefore they aren’t able to cash any bets at this time.
They have also started to offer some bets on the weather in different parts of the country. Bovada recently sent out a memo to their customers and other sports media outlets announcing the offering of weather bets.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it has become clear that Bovada is reaching to stay afloat.
William Hill has turned to offering up bets on events that are still taking place in other parts of the world. They have started offering bets on Russian Premier League soccer, Turkey’s 1. Lig, and Turkey’s Super Lig.
Action on all three of those sporting leagues has gone up over 1,000 percent in the last week, but the Russian Premier League has since shut down its operations as well.
Other sports leagues that are currently still playing are Australian rules football, minor-league women’s golf, and some soccer leagues in South America. If there is a sport that is still being played, you can expect that William Hill and other major online sportsbooks will offer bets on them.
William Hill announced that their total business was down close to 80 percent over the previous week. The loss of the NCAA Tournament will costs sportsbooks around the country over $1 billion in total revenue, and that amount of money will not be made up.
PointsBet and Chess?
One of the more obscure sporting events that sportsbooks are now looking into is the possibility of offering bets on chess matches. European sportsbooks have been offering chess bets for a long time, and Unibet was even entered into a sponsorship deal with one of the most famous chess players in the world.
American Sportsbooks have never offered chess betting up to this point, but it appears that PointsBet is looking to make it a regular occurrence, as long as states permit them to offer it on their site.
PointsBet Communications director, Patrick Eichner, announced that the company is currently waiting to hear back from state authorities about the possibility of taking bets on chess. PointsBet is hoping to offer bets on chess during the coronavirus pandemic, but they are also planning on making it a regular sport that they offer.
Some of the most common chess bets would be centered around prop betting, which opens up a world of possibilities. Sportsbooks could take bets on which piece would be captured first, or take bets on the number of moves until a player can “checkmate” their opponent.
PointsBet already offers unique and interesting betting types on their site, and they would be able to put their own spin on chess betting.