Analysis: Why sports is the saving grace for operators amid a second lockdown

When UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England was heading into a second lockdown on 5 November, it must have seemed like a sense of Déjà vu for the gambling industry.

The measures saw all 5,681 betting shops in the country along with casinos and bingo halls close until at least 2 December, aimed to curb the rate of coronavirus infections. Currently, many countries in Europe have reintroduced lockdown restrictions, again halting the retail business in the industry.

However, the announcement by Johnson, incidentally made on Halloween, wasn’t quite as scary for operators as the first lockdown implemented in March in the majority of European countries, that led to a suspension in all major sporting leagues and competitions.

It’s no secret to how much the closures of betting shops and the halt in live sport affected operators worldwide, particularly in Europe. In August William Hill said it expected 119 of its High Street betting shops to close permanently as a result of the pandemic, while the Racing Post was forced to cease publication of its newspaper from 25 March until 1 June, on the basis there wasn’t enough relevant content to justify its price.

The impact on live sport…

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