As we all know, the Coronavirus (COVD-19) has impacted the world in a major way.
The spread of the epidemic has surged through many countries with the numbers of people affected still unknown with figures conflicting wildly from the many sources who are reporting the situation.
As of mid March, the virus has impacted not only the daily lives of everyday ordinary people, but it has severely placed restrictions on their movements across borders.
Impact on Global Sports
In the sporting arena, this has affected in the main – global sporting competitions with some of the bigger ones like the NBA basketball, Formula 1 Grand Prix in China (maybe also Vietnam), and the men’s ATP and women’s WTA tennis being postponed.
This week, the tier 1 Indian Wells tournament was cancelled, and other other big tournaments coming up look likely to follow suit, especially in Europe in the lead-up to the French Open where events like the Italian Open and Rome Masters will more than likely be cancelled.
The global calendar for sports is looking like it is in complete disarray.
Italy is the most badly affected country in terms of the virus striking Europe.
Already 6 Nations rugby union and Serie A football have been hugely disrupted, and as mentioned, the tennis calendar is impacted.
Horse Racing around the Globe
Of course horse racing is a global business now, and already we are seeing the impact the virus is having on various locations and meeting around the world.
There were fears that the highly popular Cheltenham Carnival in England which was scheduled for earlier this week could have been affected, but the British Horse Racing Authority allayed such fears and the four day event (March 10-13) has continued on despite the negative feedback from outside of the industry.
In Europe and the Middle East, race meetings are being run without spectators.
This is the case in France and in Dubai (Meydan). With the big World Cup meeting coming up at the end of month, Meydan officials are in a quandary, due to the imminent arrival of many top gallopers flying in from all over the world.
This could be put in jeopardy due to international flight restrictions being placed across certain borders.
Not only that, but owners and trainers are unlikely to take risks with their prized horseflesh knowing how bad the epidemic is on a worldwide basis.
In any case, this decision may very well be taken out of their hands. Watch this space.
In Japan and Hong Kong, race meetings are also being conducted without spectators, while in South Korea, the authorities there have postponed horse racing altogether for a period of two weeks.
In Asia, the virus is probably the apex of the spread, so precautions are at their peak across the region.
Here in Australia, the Championships are soon to take place in early April, with several overseas horses from Japan and the UK already having entered quarantine, after arriving in the country at the end of February.
NSW Racing CEO Peter V’Landys is well aware of the situation and circumstances that Coronavirus presents, and will take his lead from Australian Health Authorities as to the next step, in regards to risk management and escalation, though their statement: ‘there is no need to panic’ could be described as the understatement of the year.
Other Australian sports are also hugely affected.
The Sunwolves, Japan’s team in the Super Rugby competition were not allowed to play any of their home games in Japan, instead having to play them in Australia (against Australian teams).
It is unsure how their future games will play out.
Concerns are also evident in the NRL, AFL and A-League competitions in terms of inter-state and travel to New Zealand.
Meanwhile the Australian Grand Prix to be held this weekend will have no spectators due to Victoria health officials concerns.
As of Friday March 13th AM, there is still a possibility the event may be cancelled altogether, but as at the time of writing, this wasn’t confirmed.
In the Victoria Racing jurisdiction, and with the All Star Mile taking place this weekend, the Caulfield meeting will proceed as normal, with an estimated 12,000 people expected to attend.
This, despite no spectators allowed for the Grand Prix? Doesn’t quite make sense, but anyhow..
Impact on global Betting and Wagering?
So, the next big question is: what impact is the Coronavirus having on the global betting and wagering industry? In a word: HUGE.
The global giants of the industry won’t admit it publicly, but the logistics will tell you that on-course punting will take a huge hit if no spectators are actually on course.
If tournaments are being postponed, like the aforementioned NBA basketball and the ATP and WTA tennis, then these events aren’t available to online betting agencies, which means no one can bet on them.
International Rugby Union and football games involving Italian sides may also take a hit.
We’re talking 6 Nations and Champions League games. A Conservative figure of potential losses? Maybe in the 100’s of miilions?
The Casino Industry
Elsewhere, in the global Casino industry, reputed losses are in the billions, with hot spots like Macau taking a huge hit with their operations being shut down by the Macau Government, while it’s not helped by the Australian Crown Resorts deal with top casino Melco Resorts And Entertainment Ltd falling over last month, due to the Coronavirus concern coming out of China.
Casino businesses are reporting huge daily losses, how they can be expected to maintain running operations under such duress remains to be seen.
In reality, the betting and wagering industry losses would still be considered minor when compared to other large industries globally, such as air travel.
The impact the virus is having on the world economy is vast. Huge!
Plunging stockmarket prices, massive currency drops, big companies losing billions in value, even oil produced out of Saudi Arabia and Russia now being sold at bargain basement prices.
What do they know that we don’t know? What does this all mean?
What is clear though, is that we live in uncertain times, and that there are more obstacles ahead.