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Russian Table Tennis Is ‘The Star of the Show’ for Bettors in Absence of Mainstream Sports
The coronavirus pandemic has shortened sports betting options substantially, but punters are finding new ways to wager as table tennis emerges as an alternative for many amid the crisis.
Most mainstream sports have been subject to a suspension as a result of the pandemic. The NBA, NHL and MLB seasons were stopped in north America, while most major soccer leagues in Europe ground to a halt in mid-March in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
However, soccer remains in action across most of Belarus, and Russian table tennis players have also been allowed to continue their exploits despite the pandemic. Nick Bogdanovich, director of trading at William Hill, told ESPN:
“Pingpong is the star of the show. The games are one on top of one another. Guys are playing three or four times a day. Everyone is probably betting the same guy or against him all day. People are betting five-, six- and seven-teamers.”
The rise in attention around the sport comes despite the fact punters aren’t able to tune into the matches live. All games are monitored through box score websites and apps, but punters are continuing to bet even though they can’t see the games taking place.
Caesars director of trading, Jeff Davis, provided more context on the fallout of the betting landscape, however, and reiterated the pandemic has been a catastrophe for the industry:
“You get some bets, but it doesn't remotely make up for what is lost because the large majority of people want to bet on something you can watch. But you can't watch Belarusian soccer.”
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