The 2020 college football season is up in the air, and the sports betting industry is keeping a close eye on the sport. The Big Ten Conference and the Pac-12 Conference have already scrapped their fall seasons, and 53 of the top 130 football schools will be shut down this season.
According to industry analyst Eilers and Krejcik Gaming, betting on college football makes up about 12 percent of all sports betting revenue. Three of the Power 5 Conferences, the ACC, Big 12 and SEC, are still planning to play this fall, but it’s unclear what the season will look like.
Sportsbooks already missed out on betting during the 2020 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and they were expecting a huge boost in revenue during football season. It’s possible that football will be shifted to the spring, but it could also be canceled altogether.
The American Gaming Association reports that legal sports betting handle has dropped more than 36 percent year-over-year, and the COVID-19 pandemic has played a huge role in those numbers. The sports betting industry has started to recover, but the overall 2020 numbers won’t look pretty.
Sportsbooks Can Offer Other Sports
During the shutdown of popular live sporting events during the COVID-19 pandemic, sportsbooks were forced to turn to more obscure sporting events. Table tennis was one sport that was featured by sportsbooks during the shutdown, and it kept many sportsbooks afloat.
The loss of college football will be a huge blow to the sports betting industry, but these sportsbooks now have different options at their disposal. Sports bettors are also more likely to bet on these obscure sports without football being an option.
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PointsBet is one of the sportsbooks that has already planned for this scenario to play out, and they believe that they have a solid contingency plan in place. The company will miss out on being able to offer college football, but there are enough other options to keep bettors active.
Some States Will be More Affected
The Midwest portion of the United States has seen a huge growth in sports betting since the Summer of 2019, and this part of the country is where most of the Big Ten teams play. Indiana, Iowa, Illinois, and Michigan have all launched sports betting within the last 12 months, and each state will lose out on Big Ten Football.
Iowa and Indiana have combined to see more than $178 million in football bets since going live last year. A majority of this money comes from the NFL, but both states saw plenty of betting action on Big Ten games.
Indiana is home to Indiana University and Purdue University, and Iowa is home to the University of Iowa. Illinois just launched sports betting on March 9, and they will also miss out on a pair of universities that compete in the Big Ten Conference.
Michigan launched sports betting on March 12, and they were expected to legalize online sports betting by the end of 2020. The Michigan Gaming Control Board acknowledged that these plans would likely be delayed without Big Ten football being played.