Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal
There’s little to bet on at the sportsbooks at Route 66, Isleta and Santa Ana Star casinos with the shutdown of major sports and NCAA men’s basketball because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Each of the casinos canceled concerts and other events this weekend because of the threat of the virus spreading in large gatherings.
The sportsbook at Route 66 is closed, but bettors can use self-service betting kiosks, said Skip Sayre, chief of sales and marketing of the Laguna Development Corporation that includes the casino. Betting on boxing is available, as is Saturday’s UFC event in Brazil.
Betting on horses is not available.
“It has a serious impact on our business at the sportsbook,” Sayres said on Friday, of the recent days with all the cancellations and postponements of events.
“We did have a promotion that was themed around March Madness. We’ve had to make some alterations to our promotions. We are still working with those challenges.
“The way we are looking at it is the impact is to many and it’s complex. We have to join with the rest of the community and know that it is about the importance of the health and safety of our guests.”
According to the Associated Press, if the sports suspensions last for any length of time, the lost revenue at sportsbooks would be a part of “an untold portion of the millions in lost economic activity in the U.S., since legal sports betting is in its third year of expansion following a 2018 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.”
“It’s uncharted territory,” Joe Asher, CEO of William Hill US, told the AP. “You don’t know how long it’s going to last. Obviously the timing’s not great, right before the NCAA Tournament.”
The sportsbook at Santa Ana Star casino remains open with limited staffing, said Ryan Heinis, the director of casino games.
Action at the sportsbook has been lighter than normal this week, he said, and it will be uneventful this month with the loss of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. Santa Ana also had plans for a special March Madness promotion.
As cancellations came down Wednesday and Thursday because of the virus, Heinis and staff anticipated the drop-off of action at the sportsbook.
“We think (the organizations) made the right choice (to cancel events),” Heinis said in an email. “No sport is worth the risk right now.”
Betting on futures is also available at Santa Ana and Isleta.