You bet what?! Sports shutdown leads to a lot of weird wagers – plenty on pingpong –

Two words that you’d never expect to hear in the midst of March Madness, or really anytime save for perhaps the Olympics: pingpong betting.

Yes, per The Associated Press Stylebook, pingpong is one word. And yes, per multiple sportsbook operators, wagering on table tennis is all the rage, doing a small part to fill the large sports betting void created by the Coronavirus shutdown.

“Dollar-wise for sure, Russian table tennis, pingpong, has been out of this world,” William Hill US director of trading Nick Bogdanovich told Covers. “If you can believe it – and I can’t believe it – there have been a lot of dollars bet. There are 80 matches a day, one every 15 minutes. It’s fascinating. A few customers have really gravitated toward it. The turnover has been great.”

How great? Well, that’s where the story of this unexpected market gets even better.

“We’re doing in-play now. How about that?” Bogdanovich marveled, while tipping his cap to Tony Richardson, who hails from Britain but lives in Las Vegas, heading up in-play oddsmaking for William Hill US. “He’s working his butt off and doing a great job.”

For the moment, that’s helped put table tennis front and center, where March Madness would normally reside. Mind you, nothing – not even the Super Bowl – makes up for the NCAA Tournament in terms of betting handle and revenue. But a sport generally thought of as a basement gameroom/garage pastime is in a small way helping sportsbooks prevail during this unprecedented hiatus of all