Coronavirus benches sports betting

'It's a tough time,' William Hill CEO says

It’s a difficult chapter for the sports betting business as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, shutting down the United States and much of Europe.

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Virtually every U.S. sports league has suspended operations due to the outbreak, with the exception of UFC, leaving the industry in unchartered territory, according to Joe Asher the CEO of William Hill one of the largest gambling organizations in the world.

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“We’ve seen in the past where maybe one sport, the players go on strike or there's a lockout, but we haven't had a situation where there's very little to bet on right now,” Asher told FOX Business Stuart Varney. “So it’s a tough time.”

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Asher said the virus comes amid one of the signature events for sportsbooks and also a big driver of tourism to Las Vegas. The NCAA’s March Madness, he said, brings in more money in the first three days than the Super Bowl. One of the biggest challenges is uncertainty.

Sports betting is expanding in the United States following a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that allowed for it to be legalized in every state. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

“You just don't know how long it's going to take,” he said. “We don't know when that light at the end of the tunnel is.”

Asher said he is looking to see what Congress is able to come up with in the stimulus bill.

“But clearly,” he added. “This industry has to be one of those that gets a little help during these tough times.”

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