Russian Bookies Open Bets on COVID-19 Issues

Published: 31 March 2020

Betting OnlineIn absence of sports events, Russians bet on COVID-19-related issues. (Photo:

By Zdravko Ljubas

Facing a sharp decline in income due to the global absence of public sporting events like soccer, basketball or hockey, Russian gambling sites are now offering enthusiasts the opportunity to bet on coronavirus-related issues.

Sites like Betcity or PariMatch have separate sections for posting bids on COVID-19-related problems such as what the World Health Organization or Russian authorities might do next.

“WHO announces creation of vaccine against COVID-19 by Dec. 31, 2020?” or  “WHO announces end of COVID-19 pandemic before 01.01.21?” are among the options Betcity is offering.

At PariMatch one can bet whether Russia will impose a ban on movement between cities or ban the gathering of more than three people by June 1.

“There are no matches, so bookmakers had to come up with something,” Mediazone cited Pyotr Kondakov, a journalist of, a sports news outlet which has also been offering betting options, like whether Russia will face “toilet-paper shortage” in the midst of the COVID-19 global pandemic?

Although all sport competitions in Russia have been suspended until April 17 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, experts claim that some have quickly adjusted to the current situation.

PR manager of the Russia’s Betting League, Anna Apollonova, told Mediazone that “in comparison with March last year, the volume of eSports bets has increased eight times.”

Nearly 80% of the users, as she said, started betting on cyber soccer or popular video-games, such as CounterStrike and Dota2.

The only offline sport event that still attracts gamblers is the only still-active football championship in Europe -- the Belarussian Premier League. The Belarus’ soccer has reportedly recorded 14 times more bets now than in the same period last year.