Footballing authorities all across the continent have been torn over how to settle their respective leagues in the wake of the devastating coronavirus pandemic – and you can bet your bottom dollar bookmakers are keeping an extremely close eye on the outcome.
Most European leagues have been suspended since the weekend of March 7/8 following the deadly spread of Covid-19 and the SPFL revealed yesterday that football at every level in Scotland will remain suspended until June 10 at the earliest, whilst the English FA until at least April 30, although that date looks likely to be pushed even further back.
The unprecedented nature of the suspension of play across the globe has put some bookies in rather unfamiliar positions, with fans, pundits and stakeholders seemingly split over how to resolve the crisis in a fair manner.
Of course, there’s still a chance remaining league fixtures could be carried out to completion but organisations such as a the Belgian First Division have already sought to bring their campaign to a close by attempting to name league leaders Club Brugge as champions.
Should any major competition fail to fulfil the fixtures set out at the start of a season, it could leave bookmakers in a position of trying to come up with a settlement that isn’t specifically covered in most of the rule books, as the Racing Post have reported.
Celtic were 13 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership when play was halted, and Liverpool were a whopping 25 points in-front of nearest challengers Manchester City, with Jurgen Klopp’s men needing just six more points to secure a first-ever Premier League title.
Some bookmakers have decided to pay out on Liverpool winning their first top-flight title in 30 years, as per The Sun, but other markets remain shrouded in confusion, but if you want to keep your finger on the pulse when it comes to the latest odds, try bettingmetrics.
On top of the confusion surrounding dozens of key betting markets, bookmakers have been understandably feeling the pinch brought on by the ongoing situation, with the BBC reporting that gambling has ‘plummeted’ in the UK since the coronavirus began its chaos.
Football and horse racing make up approximately 75% of the UK sports betting market, an with both currently suspended, shares in many high-profile bookmakers have dipped considerably over the last four weeks or so with Paddy Power owner Flutter Entertainment seeing its shares tumbling by 11.8%, Ladbrokes and Coral owners GVC down by 21.7% and William Hill dropping sharply by a whopping 25.5%.
Depending on how the 2019/20 football season is eventually resolved, it will almost certainly have a major impact on bookmakers across the country – but for better or worse?