Semi-professional Russian table tennis competitions have seen a rapid uptick in American betting since the COVID-19 pandemic began, according to a report from the New York Times.
The sport became popular in the early days of the pandemic as most sports leagues were sidelined, but even once other sports started to play, the lucrative market for Russian table tennis remained, according to the New York Times..
In Colorado alone, table tennis was the third biggest sport for bettors in November with $12.4 million in wagers, the Times reports. The tournaments run around the clock and feature a wide variety of players, from old to young and athletes to non-athletes.
William Hill, a Nevada-based sportsbook, paid out nearly $25,000 for a $100 bet on an incredible 10-leg Russian table tennis parlay in May, Golf Digest reported.
American sports bettors are putting their money in the unlikeliest of places: a Russian table tennis league. “It’s crazy to think I’ve made hundreds of dollars watching old guys play Ping-Pong in Russia,” one said. https://t.co/vOOBHTGaJx
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) January 26, 2021
New Jersey and Colorado have been forced to suspend betting on similar ping pong competitions in Ukraine after concerns over match-fixing, according to the Times.
“It’s crazy to think I’ve made hundreds of dollars watching old guys play Ping-Pong in Russia,” Shayan Ahmad of North Brunswick, New Jersey, told the Times. (RELATED: Guy Hits Absurd Pong Shot In Crazy Video)
William Hill sportsbook director Nick Bogdanovich said in May that table tennis brings in almost $1 million in daily wagers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.