There was further confirmation about the potential impact on the betting sector of the COVID-19 virus at the weekend when a leading European industry organisation published new research.
The European Gaming Commission (EGBA) has issued a warning that global revenues in the gambling sector could fall by as much as 11% on previous forecasts. According to figures produced by a leading industry analyst, gross revenue in gambling sector in 2020 could fall from an estimated $473 billion to $421 billion. Those figures would represent a return to the revenue levels of 2016.
The decline in gambling revenue is likely to be softened by a surge in online betting, and analysts predict that the online sector’s share of global gambling industry revenue could rise from the current level of 13.2% to around 15.7%.
The unprecedented cancellations of major sports competitions around the world is likely to be the main factor in the decline of revenue. At the time of writing, the list of events that have been postponed or cancelled includes the English Premier League, the Bundesliga in Germany, Spain’s La Liga, the Champions League, UK Grand National and the Masters; all of which are traditionally popular betting events with punters around the world.
Back in 2018, EGBA says that its members generated around €2.36 billion in sports betting revenue, which accounted for 44% of their overall online revenue. But addressing the issue, the Secretary General of EGBA, Maarten Haijer, said that neither sport nor revenue was the priority:
“It’s sad that so many iconic sporting events are being cancelled or suspended and it will obviously have a negative impact on our sector. But the safety and health of the public is obviously more important and we fully support the sporting authorities and others in the difficult decisions they face right now.”