COVID-19

Ping pong, anyone? Sports fans find new games to bet on during the pandemic

Miles Bryan Jul 16, 2020
Heard on: Marketplace Morning Report
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Sports fans have had to look elsewhere for betting opportunities. Above, the final match of the Düsseldorf Masters table tennis competition. Lars Baron/Getty Images
COVID-19

Ping pong, anyone? Sports fans find new games to bet on during the pandemic

Miles Bryan Jul 16, 2020
Sports fans have had to look elsewhere for betting opportunities. Above, the final match of the Düsseldorf Masters table tennis competition. Lars Baron/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Sports fans need no reminder that most pro competitions they usually follow have been suspended or delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But while some sports are off, at least for the moment, mobile sports betting — in the 11 states plus Washington, D.C., where it is currently operational — has continued.

And the industry has been getting creative: Sports bettors have turned to Russian and Ukranian table tennis, as well as other lesser-known competitions like Taiwanese basketball and darts. Still, these fringe games aren’t making up for the absence of major sports. The total amount of money bet on sports online in Pennsylvania, for example, fell by about a third between March and May.

Click the audio player above to hear the full story.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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