Looking back, there are no events that the betting sector has faced of the magnitude of the COVID-19 virus. The only one even vaguely comparable in modern times is the “Big Freeze” of 1978.
Gambling jurisdictions with combined revenues equating to around 35% of total global gambling have been shutdown in the first quarter of 2020, as part of attempts to halts the spread of COVID-19.
Players of the Euromillions lottery could win a jackpot of a quarter of a billion Euros, under changes to the game structure made in February 2020.
The virus COVID-19 has now transcended everything else, be it Brexit, a UK trade deal with the USA, the election of a President in the USA, and the continuing problems in the Middle East.
Casting an eye across Eastern Europe, it is clear that different jurisdictions are taking very different approaches to gambling. Some are embracing regulation and expanding into interactive gambling regulation, whilst others continue to maintain outright bans. As ever, one common feature is tax.
In the two days following the statement by Gambling Commission CEO Neil McArthur (12 February 2020) that he would consider slashing the maximum stake for online slots to £2, the shares in GVC Holdings, the largest of the UK’s gambling operators, fell by 11.6%, mirrored by other UK gambling stocks.