One of the earliest signs that the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to have a major impact on the world came when governments across the globe started banning large scale public gatherings to combat the spread of the virus. One of the first casualties of this effort were major sporting events. In a matter of weeks, we have gone from having what would in normal circumstances be a particularly packed sporting calendar with the Olympic Games due to commence this summer, to one in which essentially every major sporting event for the next six months has either been postponed or cancelled.

The mass cancellation of sporting events will be sorely felt by sports fans across the world, particularly as we now have more free time than ever with many of us out of work, furloughed, or quarantined at home for the foreseeable future.

One industry the cancellation of these sporting events has had a big impact on are the hundreds of online sports betting websites. Overnight they have gone from having millions of players across the world eagerly placing bets in anticipation of a packed sporting calendar, to having nothing going on for the foreseeable future. Even the Olympics, which usually kicks off in the mid-to-late summer has been postponed until 2021.

With all this said, it’s an incredibly tough time to be a sports fan. But in light of the wholesale cancellation of professional sports for the foreseeable future—which in our eyes means essentially the cancellation of anything that is fun – how are all these would be punters coping?

One industry that has seen an uptick in business as a spillover from these new restrictions on professional sports is online casinos. As evidence of this, a number of recent industry surveys have reported a surge in traffic directed to online casino websites. A consequence, no doubt, of millions across the country sitting at home with little else to do all day. As such, UK betting sites like SuperLenny have been picking up the slack with so many sporting events around the world cancelled.

Similar increases have been reported across the Atlantic, with the major US online social poker room ‘Global Poker’ recently revealing a massive 43% increase in the use of online poker sites in the US. Interestingly, with these figures, they also reported a 255% increase in the number of first-time poker players they had signing up to platforms. Meaning that it isn’t just the experienced players already established on platforms that are finding more time to play, but that more people than ever are looking to try it out.

As the UK looks set to endure at least another month of restrictions, particularly with no vaccine yet available, there’s a good chance we might find ourselves with a lot of free time for the foreseeable future. And with the sporting calendar looking particularly bleak, there has never been a better time to get stuck into a new hobby!