Casinos in Nevada have been ordered to close for the month of April by Gov. Steve Sisolak. The closure of non-essential businesses is to help slow the spread of coronavirus. Even though all casinos are closed there are still four sportsbook operators offering mobile wagering.
Business is slow since the most popular sports leagues around the world have suspended play.
The sportsbooks have been hunting high and low to find sports wagering options for their customers. Futures will suffice for some but there are bettors who want to see their wagers pay off today – not in six to nine months.
Table Tennis and eNASCAR have become popular sports for Nevada sports bettors with major professional sports leagues suspended.
Table tennis blowing up
The majority of games to wager on have been fringe sports from international leagues that usually wouldn’t reach US sportsbooks. Table tennis (AKA ping pong) has been one of the most popular non-traditional sports for bettors looking for something to wager on right away.
Nick Bogdanovich, William Hill’s U.S. Director of Trading says “table tennis has been a high percentage of our handle over the last few weeks, showing that sports fans have really embraced it.”
Why is table tennis so popular? He goes on to say that “the matches don’t take long to finish and since there are so many to parlay people seem to really enjoy it. It’s exceeded my expectations by a thousand times. I’m shocked – and pleasantly so.”
Table tennis betting could be here to stay but it’s not the only non-traditional sport gaining traction with major league sports being suspended.
eNASCAR off to a good start
William Hill and Circa Sports both offered eNASCAR wagering for the first time on Sunday, April 5th. This was the first time there was wagering available in Nevada for the 2020 eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. The race at the virtual Bristol Raceway.
In this virtual auto race, real NASCAR drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. compete on the iRacing simulation platform. While the amount of money doesn’t touch the real races, virtual NASCAR betting is off to a good start.
Circa sportsbook director Matthew Metcalf told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the first eNASCAR race “ended up being about 50 percent of a normal race when all was said and done.” Metcalf points to the “Yes” or “No” wagers being among the most popular. This is a unique wager that only Circa Sports offers to Nevada sports bettors.
Meanwhile, Bogdanovich told the Review-Journal that William Hill took 400 bets on the first eNASCAR race. He went on to say “we were a small loser, but we’re encouraged for Week 1. We wrote a lot of tickets, and that’s all we’re trying to do.”
Similar to offering table tennis and other small sports for wagering he says William Hill “just want(s) to keep people engaged and keep them coming to the William Hill site and give them something to do.
While table tennis could remain on sports betting menus when major sports are taking place, the same won’t likely happen for eNASCAR. The professional drivers will return to their real cars at real race tracks. It’s possible eNASCAR will become a popular esport to wager on but the virtual drivers won’t be the names so many people are familiar with.