In a few weeks, the commercial casino industry in the U.S has grinded to halt due to Covid-19 virus, and the country’s sportsbooks that still offer online betting now shift their attention to obscure sports with the hope of alleviating a big loss in revenue that has no end in sight at the moment.
It is important to know that the American Gaming Association (AGA) reported Monday that 943 casinos in the United States have reportedly closed operations and that before the end of this week, almost all casinos will be closed down.
The Washington D.C-based trade group that represents casinos
in the United States, AGA, stated that the closure of casinos will affect 649,000 gaming employees in the States. However, if the closure continues for long – for 2 months or more – the AGA estimates that $43.5 billion in economic activity generated by casinos will be lost. Last week, the American Gaming Association also requested $18billion in aid from the federal government and they are desperately in need of help.
Bill Miller, president and CEO of AGA, stated this in a press release: “The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees and the small businesses that support them, back to work as soon as it is safe to do so.” He also added: “Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action.”
Two weeks ago, legal sportsbooks in 17 states were hoping this will be their busiest time for them this year. But at the moment, it doesn’t look so as all major U.S. and international sports have been put to halt, bookmakers are scrambling to come up with betting options and casinos around the nation as a prolonged shutdown for the first time in history looms.
Joe Asher, CEO of sportsbook operator William Hill U.S, told ESPN: “Obviously, it’s unprecedented times. It’s tough right now, the timing was bad, wiping out March Madness. Losing the [NCAA men’s basketball] tournament was a real punch in the gut. But, look, a punch in the gut hurts, but you recover from it.”
On Tuesday this week, the creation of the William Hill USA Foundation was announced by Asher. The Foundation is aimed at assisting company employees – but it is now furloughed due to Coronavirus. Despite this, Asher stated that he will donate his salary until sports resume.
Even though live gambling and sporting events have been stopped, some American sportsbooks that continue to operate online in the U.S. These sportsbooks allow mobile betting. Online gambling is now the main thing, and companies such as 888 Casino, BetMGM, Caesars Entertainment, DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, and William Hill U.S offer online gambling. Nine states— Indiana, Iowa, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and West Virginia — offer full-scale online betting.
In New Jersey, 888 Casino offers online poker and traditional table games with sports betting, but the action is minimal.
Yaniv Sherman, senior vice president at 888, said: “We’re naturally shifting focus to the casino and poker side of the business. I see offshore [sportsbooks] are suffering the same situation right now. They’re trying to offer all sorts of alternatives, like weather betting or political betting. But, at the end of the day, without the core events, specifically March Madness and the NBA, the other things will just be about minimizing the impact.”