What Are The Odds? Sports Betting in the Age of COVID-19

May, 2020

With momentum gaining across states to legalize gambling, the 2019-2020 season could have been a whole new world in terms of sports betting. Then at the height of the some of the more popular leagues’ seasons and events for sports bettors, along came COVID-19 and with it the suspension of live sports.

With 40% of sports fans and 1/3 of all people saying they’ve at least
dabbled in sports betting, Horizon Media wondered – how are sports bettors coping? 

Research indicates that even though live sports are paused, that doesn’t mean betting has stopped. In fact, 50% of sports bettors say they are likely to place a bet while sports are suspended. Nearly half (45%) already have.

Sports betting is more than just the chance to make some money. 
Betting offers socialization, stimulation, and distraction – things that are
increasingly scarce in a time of social distancing. So when the everyday is
starting to feel more and more like Groundhog Day, sports bettors are eagerly seeking ways to add a bit of the unexpectedness, thrill, and excitement back into their life.

While not surprisingly sports bettors are turning to simulated games and/or online casinos to scratch their betting itch, ~40% say they are making “random” bets with friends and family.

Will the store have toilet paper? 

Who is going to die next on this TV show? 

From Coronavirus figures to weather to well, “anything,” bettors are looking to amplify their everyday, and nothing seems off limits.

Yet despite engaging in some wagering here and there, 80% of all bettors say they miss betting on live sports, ~1 in 5 are “going crazy without it.”

This need for stimulation, spontaneity and risk provides an interesting
opportunity for brands to flex their gamification strategy muscles, a fresh way to connect with an audience who is hungry for more than a bit of action and striving to break the monotony of their everyday.

And with over 80% of sport bettors reallocating their sports betting budget to other areas in their life, stakes are high. Understanding how to tap into these emotional benefits can yield a promising ‘pay day’ for brands.

Source: Horizon Media, Finger on the Pulse. Survey fielded 3/25/20 – 4/3/20, n=1,067

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