A potential May 9 return for the German Bundesliga, which would bring a high-profile European soccer league into the sports betting market, was taken off the boards Thursday when the government delayed a vote on its potential return.
The delay came after Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Germany’s 16 state governors via video conference. It is expected a resolution will be drafted and presented next week, and Merkel said in a statement, “Then we will make a clear decision regarding sporting activities.”
The German Football League (DFL) has made extensive plans to resume playing, which includes regular testing for players in the top two domestic leagues, but the delay means the earliest possible resumption date is now likely May 16 or 23.
Like most of the rest of the world’s sports leagues, the Bundesliga has been shut down since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The DFL has plans in place to play the final nine rounds of matches at empty stadiums with the goal of completing the season by June 30. Earlier this week, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe suspended all sports in the country until at least September, which resulted in Paris-St. Germain being crowned Ligue 1 champion.
Bundesliga could boost slim sports betting pickings
If the Bundesliga and Bundelisga 2 return, it would provide an immediate boost to a limited offering of sports betting options that also includes Russian table tennis and Taiwanese baseball. As a top-five European soccer league with name recognition in clubs Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, the handle on Bundesliga matches should quickly overtake what is generated by the Belarusian Premier League, which is currently the top soccer offering for sportsbooks.
“As the pause on major US sports leagues continues, we understand sports fans are thirsting for action,” DraftKings Sportsbook Director Johnny Avello told NJ Online Gambling. “As one of Europe’s premier soccer leagues, we anticipate solid engagement around the various team and player markets should the league be approved to return as an offer on our Sportsbook platform.”
— DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga (@DFL_Official) April 30, 2020
The English Premier League, considered the most popular European domestic soccer league, has reportedly targeted a June 8 restart date that likely would also include matches played in empty stadiums.