Coronavirus Forces Sportsbooks To Choose Over Mobile Betting
After Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak called for a 30-day shutdown of all non-essential businesses in the state, casinos are making the tough call of what they should do with their mobile betting apps in the age of no sports in the United States.
Casinos in Las Vegas, already reeling from losing the foot traffic generated by the Men’s NCAA Basketball Tournament that was canceled, are looking for solutions to the problem of how they should handle their mobile apps moving forward.
One of the newest sportsbooks in Las Vegas, Circa Sports, kept their mobile app available for bettors after they shut down their two casino properties, the D Las Vegas and Golden Gate, to comply with the directive by Gov. Sisolak.
“The first thing we did was reach out to Nevada Gaming Control Board Chairwoman Sandra Morgan. She approved keeping the app open as a functioning part of the business,” Circa director of sportsbook operations Jeff Benson told the gambling website, Covers.
“Secondly, (Owner) Derek Stevens is very committed and passionate to keeping the risk room open. We’re going to try to provide our customers with as many wagering opportunities as possible, while there’s not as many American sports to bet on.”
Other sportsbooks followed suit by keeping their mobile apps available to bettors. William Hill, Caesars NJ, and MGM Resorts have all allowed their mobile betting apps to stay functional during the shutdown.
But there were other sportsbooks, including heavy hitters such as The SuperBook at Westgate, who decided to pull the plug on all betting operations including their mobile apps. Jay Kornegay, the vice president of race and sports for Westgate Resorts, told Covers that the governor’s statement was the final nail for closing all sportsbook operations.
“(Risk Management VP for Westgate) Jeff Sherman did a tremendous job, the day following all the league suspensions and the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, of just trying to find events across the world that we could book,” Kornegay said. “But it seemed like every time we added an event, we lost two. In our eyes, it just wasn’t making sense to remain open and offer the menu that’s available at this time.”
Adding to the call to close both sportsbooks and mobile apps included the Wynn Resorts and CG Technology, who control several sportsbooks in Las Vegas. CG is currently being bought out by William Hill, so the shutdown could be the last Vegas bettors see of the company.
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But for Kornegay and the Westgate, the amount of manpower needed to reopen betting meant bringing in several departments and tens of employees. In the end, he decided the risk is not worth the result.
Unlike Nevada, New Jersey continues to offer mobile betting and is enjoying strong NFL futures bets as bettors await the start of the season. There is a noticeable difference between the two states when you consider that New Jersey’s market is roughly 85% mobile bets and Nevada enjoys more on-site betting due to the entertainment side of Las Vegas.
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