2020 was the year of the Covid-19 outbreak and one of the darkest years in human history. The searing impact of this pandemic has been felt in the global economy, including the Middle East.
While some companies have been forced to shut down operations completely, the impact of Covid-19 has kept others still struggling to stay afloat and keep up with the competition. In the sporting world, major sports events like the NHL, English Premier League, Olympics, and lots more were suspended, as holding such tournaments wasn’t just feasible.
Coming to the casino industry, there are two sides to this market – the thriving online casinos and the struggling land-based establishments. Clearly, the pandemic has had both negative and positive impacts on online gambling, and we’ll look at the effects from these two points of view.
The Positive Impacts of Covid-19 on Online Gambling
Online Casinos Are Growing Strong
Since coronavirus kept almost everyone (excluding essential workers) at home, the number of daily visits to online casinos during the pandemic experienced an upsurge. According to a market report released by Optimove, online casinos have seen a 43% increase in online poker gamblers.
Asides from these mind-blowing statistics, online casino games like the Valkyrie slot machine and other free slot games gained traction because they accommodate the needs of players who want to play for free or real money.
Another interesting fact to note is that most of the people enjoying casino online free slots and other table games were mostly players new to online gambling.
That brings us to the question, “Why did this market enjoy a meteoric when other markets were falling apart?” Well, online casinos enjoyed this positive impact since there was no alternative for players. Before the sports betting industry could create other game variations, most people rushed to place wagers at online casino games to ease the boredom of staying home all day long. It certainly helped that the online gambling industry is so vast. Players get to enjoy a plethora of games, including:
- Video Poker
- Scratch card games, and lots more.
The Rise of Virtual Sports
During the heat of Covid-19, online virtual reality sports came to the fore. This sport type was created to cater to the needs of players who craved the “real-world” game simulations of their favorite events.
As soon as it was introduced, this game variation got an immediate response from players. It was widely discussed on social media and player forums, and according to stats, there was a daily increase of virtual sports players by a whopping 30%.
The Negative Impact of Covid-19 on Online Gambling
Sports Betting at an All-time Low
The sports betting sector set to take the world “head-on” in 2020 was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. As the pandemic became more serious, major sporting events were canceled, with others placed on hold.
This came as a shock to sport betting companies as most had churned in loads of money to their marketing campaigns and other aspects crucial to the effective takeover of this industry. With this development, most companies have taken drastic measures to avoid a total shutdown.
Since the market conditions were unfavorable, some online betting resorted to taking solace in their fantasy games to weather the storm. Most of them created pools on politics and TV shows – yes! It was that bad.
Sports associations and leagues with their events on hold are now tilting their focus towards game simulations in place of real player tournaments to cushion the damming consequences. With all these in place, new betting opportunities have been developed, albeit unknowingly.
How About Real World Casinos?
While the online gambling industry saw a rise in the number of players who placed wagers, it wasn’t smooth sailing for the brick-and-mortar casinos. In terms of an impact, casinos that conducted face-to-face transactions were hit the worst.
During the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic, casinos were barred from conducting business. As the lockdown took effect in most jurisdictions, these casinos were placed under “lock and key” for months without making any profits.
When they reopened for business, they were restricted from operating at full capacity. With social distancing still in place, the number of people in casino halls reduced drastically. These businesses struggled to stay afloat, and many had to implement pay cuts and reduce staffing.
To date, the best hope that these casinos have to mark a turnaround is worldwide vaccination. While this process is still in its formative stages, physical casinos aren’t out of the woods yet, with more financial losses bound to occur. If there’s a plan for these organizations, it should border on recovering the losses incurred in the past year.
Overview of the Pros and Cons
|Positive Effects||Negative Effects|
|Growth of online casino gambling||Physical casinos struggling to maintain the business|
|The advent and rise of virtual and eSports||Real-life sporting events were unable to hold|
|Increase in professional e-Sports players||Scarcity of sports matches to bet on at sportsbooks|
|Players can benefit from a larger game variety and amazing bonuses available at online casinos|
As seen from this article, Covid-19 has affected every business sector, the global gambling industry included. Following the outbreak of this deadly virus, the land-based casinos have been dealt the “worst hand” as casino halls aren’t in full operation yet.
On the other hand, although the online gambling scene has taken a negative hit in terms of sports betting, online casinos are still receiving most of the engagements. In fact, free slot games have become the “order of the day” on a worldwide scale.
However, 2021 is the year that’s going to play a significant role for casino halls worldwide, as it’ll be about trying to stay afloat from the very start and hoping that everyone gets vaccinated so that things can finally return to normalcy.