iGB Live: 2020 betting revenue to fall 15% year-on-year due to pandemic

By Iqbal Johal

Betting industry gross gaming revenue (GGR) forecasts for 2020 have fallen by $15bn because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to H2 Gambling Capital data.

Speaking at iGB Live, Ed Birkin, senior consultant at the gambling data company, revealed data forecasts betting GGR, which includes sports betting, horse and dog racing among other verticals, to be $60bn in 2020; a 15% year-on-year fall and a 21% reduction from the $75bn predicted at the start of the year.

Birkin added that, for online, interactive betting forecasts were 10% less, with land-based GGR downgrading by 29% due to venue closures.

During his Sports Betting Tracker talk, Birkin said the suspension of live sport from mid-March impacted betting forecasts, while esports and virtual sports still represent a small percentage of market share.

He said: “The big talking point in the betting industry during lockdown has been the rise of esports and, to a lower extent, virtual betting.

“In 2020, we forecast esports to grow by 25% year-on-year, which still only equates to 1.3% of the overall sports betting market. But in terms of the online only market, this equates to 3%.

“For virtuals, we estimate an increase to just under 6% of total betting activity, and total virtual betting activity to be flat year-on-year.

“That may surprise some people, but a very large part of virtual sports betting market takes place in retail betting shops, and the closure of these has been a significant headwind. When you dig down, you see a very different to story that what you may believe from the media hype.”

Among other trends from the pandemic, Birkin believes the black market has “significantly benefited,” particularly with restrictions coming into effect in several European countries.

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