Bookies look to different leagues during crisis

The amendment, which was an initiative of the Belarusian Hockey Federation, allows sports betting ads on television and radio.
The amendment, which was an initiative of the Belarusian Hockey Federation, allows sports betting ads on television and radio.

European bookmakers and have turned to unusual sports and leagues to offer betting markets to players during the Covid-19 outbreak.

Belarus.- European bookmakers and have turned to unusual sports and leagues to offer betting markets to players during the Covid-19 outbreak.

With most sports events suspended, bookies have turned their attention to the football backwaters like Nicaragua and Belarus.

Keith O’Loughlin, a senior figure at SG Digital which supplies sportsbook platforms and trading services to operators, said he has been encouraged by the figures he has seen across the globe.

“We have seen customers transferring in droves to alternative products,” O’Loughlin said on a videoconference at the Sports Betting Community digital conference.

“We have customers in each region – Asia Pacific, Europe and the USA. Customers in AsiaPac hold 70 to 80 per cent previous levels of turnover, customers in Europe 30 to 50 per cent and the US anything from 15 to 45 per cent.”

O’Loughlin puts this down to “people wanting to have a bit of fun” but at the same time bookies have acknowledged that they feel more reassured if it is educated fun.

To that end, several have embarked on enlightening their clients on the ins and outs of Nicaraguan and Belarus football — two leagues that have continued to play through the crisis.

“We launched through one of our web radio stations a daily talk show to entertain customers stuck at home,” said Fabio Schivaolin, CEO of Italian bookmakers Snaitech.

“It hosts talk about table tennis and the Nicaragua and Belarus championships to help give information to the clients to follow new markets and programmes,” he added.

“The customer never had it before but now it takes a chunk of turnover. It is in some respects replacing tennis.

“The biggest bet in tennis is who wins the next point and so it is for table tennis. With the rise of live betting round the world people want a quick hit.”

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