by Kristen Rainey
While the current COVID pandemic is showing no sign of slowing down, we are still seeing many sectors and businesses reopen and return to work wherever possible. Many countries have relaxed travel restrictions, while strict quarantine rules and testing programs are also being implemented to keep track of people who travel. One of the worst-hit sectors was the sporting industry, as numerous tournaments and competitions were postponed or cancelled in the first few months of the year. Now, however, many sports have made a return, after imposing rules around testing and keeping players in isolation. For example, the various European football leagues made a return back in June, to finish off their suspended seasons, with players being tested twice every week and being restricted in their movements and activities. It was a similar scenario for cricket as well, where England played against the West Indies and Pakistan in ‘bio-secure bubbles’. The NBA has started as well, with matches taking place at the Walt Disney World in Florida, in an isolated manner with all the teams staying on the site. In a similar vein, tennis is also making a return, with the US Open currently being held in New York City.
While the US Open has traditionally been the final Grand Slam of the year, the pandemic has meant that this is only the second Grand Slam event of 2020. The Australian Open was conducted as scheduled in January, but the French Open and Wimbledon did not take place. Since then, Wimbledon cancelled this year’s tournament for the first time since the Second World War, while the French Open will be held immediately after the US Open finishes, making this a rare year with three Grand Slam events rather than four. This is still a welcome result for tennis fans, as there were virtually no tennis events held for a large part of the year. During this time, fans had to look for alternatives for their entertainment needs, which led to the rise in popularity of online casinos and other gaming options. In fact, online casino providers have become so popular also because they have now begun offering cryptocurrencies as a mode of payment, leading to such sites being popularly known as cryptocurrency casinos. Nevertheless, the return of live tennis action has been awaited for a long time by fans, even though some of the best players in the world are giving the US Open a miss.
Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu, the male and female defending champions, both decided to skip this year’s event due to the pandemic. Roger Federer, Nick Kyrgios, Stan Wawrinka, Gael Monfils, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Fernando Verdasco and Kei Nishikori are some of the other high-profile male players to have pulled out, while Ashleigh Barty, Simona Halep, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur led the lineup of female players who made themselves unavailable. The tournament also cancelled the mixed doubles event entirely. Nevertheless, there has still been a lot of enthusiasm about the tournament among fans, and Cloudbet, the leading cryptocurrency sportsbook and casino provider, has relaunched its zero-margin odds offer for the tournament.
This offer was first launched during the restart of the English Premier League, where Cloudbet used its blockchain technology to offer commission-free odds on certain matches. The Match Winner, Game Handicap and Total Games markets will be available for players to bet on both pre-match and in-play, with the margin-free odds allowing customers to win up to $1000 using them. The cryptocurrency approach applied by Cloudbet allows it to be able to generate savings by avoiding payment processing charges and slower transaction times, which underpins this zero-margin offering.