Sports betting

Weekend Review: Coronavirus stalls sports betting as bookies reflect on Cheltenham Festival

Horseracing bettors carry on post-Cheltenham as Betfred customers plough into Rugby League

The coronavirus outbreak continues to have a devastating impact on bookies as swathes of sporting events are cancelled due to the pandemic.

Major markets, including European football and American sports, have been suspended by the authorities, leaving punters short of markets to bet on.

Some competitions are yet to succumb to the virus – with punters flocking towards these slim pickings, according to Kindred Group’s Ali Gill.

He said: “It was a strange weekend as the first one impacted by no Premier League. As a result, punters flocked to other international leagues which are still going ahead.

“Turkey are yet to suspend their league, and this weekend our biggest event was the big clash between Galatasaray and Besiktas, with the 0-0 draw a great result given the tough circumstances.”

The appetite to place a bet hasn’t been hampered by the pandemic according to Gill, who noted that some lower league fixtures experienced a significant upturn.

He continued: “Players also really latched on to the lower league games in the UK which did go ahead, some of them seeing turnover akin to Premier League games, with Halifax Town v Ebbsfleet the pick.

“As expected, given the nature of the matches bet on, margin was high, although like everyone we wait with bated breath for the safe return of top-flight football when it’s suitable.”

Betfred’s Peter Spencer told EGR Intel that there has been a surge in betting on Rugby League.

“We have seen a significant increase on Rugby League betting. Sunday’s fixture between St. Helens and Castleford saw a record betting.”

Spencer also noted a rise in bets for Russian, Turkish and Brazilian football, as well as increases in bingo and Irish lotto.

Elsewhere, Cheltenham Festival survived cancellation as thousands of spectators flocked to take in four days of action.

Spencer said Betfred broke even across the four days as race favourite Al Boum Photo won back-to-back Gold Cups, which would have left a sour taste in the mouth for hopeful bookies.

Gill explained how horseracing, which has only been put behind closed doors and not suspended, could well be the bookies’ saviour.

He added: “This weekend all fixtures went ahead and we certainly saw bigger numbers than usual, although the Cheltenham factor would also play a part there. “Overall it was one for the punters as they came out ahead overall on the weekend’s racing action.”

Betdaq’s Mark Harkin highlighted some key winners and losers from this year’s festival.

He said: “The biggest winner of the week came on Thursday where one customer won just shy of £30,000 after backing Milan Native to win the Kim Muir at 17.52, while another won nearly £18,000 after Champ’s dramatic victory in the RSA Chase.

“It wasn’t quite as good for another who lost £25k having backed Benie Des Dieux to win the Mares’ Hurdle at 1.58.”

Bet365 secured the highest clickshare of the market once again this year with a potent mix of pricing and place terms as their total clickshare increased slightly year-on-year, according to the latest data from Oddschecker.

Paddy Power increased their clickshare 5% year-on-year and were the most used bookie on Thursday, according to the Hammersmith-based comparison firm.

Elsewhere, William Hill, Sky Bet, BetVictor and Ladbrokes all saw their year-on-year clickshare fall.

Betdaq | Betfred | Cheltenham | Cheltenham Festival | Cheltenham Gold Cup | Kindred Group | Sports betting | William Hill