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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sportsbooks are flummoxed over what to do about the lack of sports events.

Why it matters: 2020 was supposed to be the year that sports betting really took off, with many more states expected to legalize betting in coming months.

Now that sports are being cancelled across the globe due to the coronavirus, sportsbook operators are looking for contingency plans.

  • "These are unprecedented times to be sure," said Joe Asher, CEO of UK-based sportsbook operator William Hill, in an interview with Axios.
  • "Obviously the timing was pretty bad, coming right before the NCAA tournament, and basketball and hockey being on hiatus," says Asher. "But this too shall pass."
  • "A lot of industries are being hit and this is one of those industries that's being disproportionately impacted."

What's next: Asher says that William Hill, like most companies, is focusing on making sure that its employees that work in casinos are safe.

  • From a business perspective, he says the company is focusing on sports that are not cancelled yet, or ones that are still being played without live audiences, like certain fights, rugby and Mexican soccer.

Yes, but: From a business perspective, Asher says William Hill isn't thinking big about esports from a betting perspective just yet.

  • "We've done a few esports things in the past and I think given this slowdown, it's something we'll look at, but it's modest in the overall scheme of things.

Go deeper: Media companies eye sportsbook partnerships to juice engagement

Go deeper

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September quarter in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.

2 hours ago - World

Former spy Steele defends controversial Trump Russia dossier

Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The author of the "Steele Dossier," containing unverified claims about former President Trump told ABC News he stands by his controversial report, according to excerpts from an upcoming documentary published Sunday.

Why it matters: Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele's dossier was used as part of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia's government.

Ina Fried, author of Login
5 hours ago - Technology

Intel CEO sees making own chips as a matter of national security

Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Axios on HBO

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger is putting the pressure on the U.S. government to help subsidize chip manufacturing, insisting the current reliance on plants in Taiwan and Korea as "geopolitically unstable."

Why it matters: There is bipartisan support for funding the domestic semiconductor industry, but Congress has yet to sign the check. The Senate has passed the CHIPS Act that includes $52 billion in semiconductor investment, but it has yet to pass the House.