A lack of professional sports doesn’t mean the end to sports betting

Monday night should have been the NCAA Tournament National Championship, but the coronavirus pandemic meant an early end to the season, along with other sports.

News 12 Staff

Apr 7, 2020, 1:33 AM

Updated 1,560 days ago

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Monday night should have been the NCAA Tournament National Championship, but the coronavirus pandemic meant an early end to the season, along with other sports.
With no sports to offer and no casinos open, oddsmakers are getting creative when it comes to offering sports betting.
“When you take those core sports, you’re taking away our heart,” says DraftKings Director of Race and Sports Operations Johnny Avello. “I would say it’s taking everybody down about 90% of what they normally do.”
Avello says that in his nearly 40 years in the business, he has seen short term disruptions before such as after the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2008 financial crisis. But he says that he has not seen disruption on this scale before.
Photos: Your Coronavirus Pandemic Experience
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“This actually shut down the world and when you shut down the world, all events the world has to offer, there’s not much for us to be able to offer our patrons,” he says.
Avello says that they have had to get creative, such as offering bets on popular TV shows like “Real Housewives” or “Top Chef,” as well as other competitions like darts, esports and ping pong.
“It’s difficult, but as an oddsmaker, the more you do it the better you get at it,” he says. “And the players are in the same boat. Remember, how do you bet on ping pong? I think we’re on an equal playing field.”
One sports event that is still happening this month is the NFL Draft. While organizers say that it won’t be the typical party that it usually it, Avello says that prop bets can keep fans engaged.
DraftKings is also giving back by donating $1 million to United Way.
“Take a picture of yourself, #DKRally and for every picture, we’ll donate $1 for everyone that does that and we’re over halfway there,” Avello says.
DraftKings also offers casino games on its mobile app.


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