Online gambling and the coronavirus pandemic seem to be worlds apart, but the virus’s ripple effects can be felt in the industry. COVID-19’s shockwaves sent most of the world into lockdowns and isolations. Any physical interaction was also accompanied by social distancing, masking, and sanitizing measures. The effects were felt on internet industries, like gambling, even though they operate on a virtual platform that eliminates physical interaction. Australia was among the many affected regions, and the country has yet to come to terms with the new normal. The country, which is home to the biggest online gambling industry globally, has experienced some online casino shifts. The changes fall on both sides of the positive and negative spectrum, and some have more lasting effects than others.
Increase in Gambling Addiction
Before the pandemic, Australia was battling a nationwide gambling addiction crisis that affected hundreds of thousands of Aussies. Australians are the world’s most prolific punters considering per capita spending. Gambling has been a ballooning industry since the 1990s big bang deregulation, and it has never looked back, even with the Interactive Gambling Act 2001 coming into effect. In 2016, it was estimated that enough money was lost to the activity to average $900 for each resident within legal gambling age. This rate was higher than that of any other developed country, and it has only been growing ever since. With everyone stuck at home since the pandemic hit in early 2020, people have increased the time spent at home, which is possibly spent online. This has made it easy to be engrossed in gambling, which has made the addiction epidemic worse.
At the end of 2019, the total gambling expenditure per adult stood between $1100 and 1200. This statistic increased to $1300 per capita in the past year. To grasp how shocking this figure is, the next highest one is $600 per capita in Singapore, meaning Australia has exceeded any country on Earth by far. Currently, it is estimated that over 200,000 Australians suffer from severe pathological gambling, and twice as many are at risk of adopting the habit. These figures may seem small, but millions of Australians are victims of the issue’s second-hand effects, such as bankruptcy, crime, suicide, and broken homes due to affiliation with an addict. You, or anyone close to you dealing with gambling addiction, can combat the problem by;
- Understanding the problem and the symptoms that accompany the disorder, such as irritability, unsuccessful quitting attempts, lying to friends about the habit, and needing financial support
- Seeking assistance from a mental health or addiction specialist
- Joining a support group like Gambler Anonymous to meet others with similar experiences and pasts
- Finding alternatives to gambling like new hobbies, physical activity, meditation, and voluntary work
- Think about the consequences your gambling habits cause to you and your loved ones
- Avoid temptation by uninstalling gambling apps or avoiding scrolling through your phone or PC aimlessly
When Australia applied lockdown measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus, most people got sucked into tech-fueled diversions to continue with work, reach out to family members, and keep themselves entertained. People who would play in brick-and-mortar establishments had no option but to seek services online since most location-based options were closed. Even those that had previously snubbed the habit, both online and offline, are now reaching out to internet casinos now and then.
Online casinos barely break a sweat supporting the influx of visitors over the past year. Since they run on a virtual platform, they can keep an unlimited number of players without worrying about filling their floors. While the land-based sector nurses a significant hit due to its closed doors, the Australian online casino business is among the industries that benefit massively from the pandemic.
Increased Game Choices
Australia recorded an uptick of internet use by 20% since COVID-19 started making rounds. This rise in numbers means there is an increased consumption of online casino games. Gaming software developers have risen and skyrocketed the provision of online pokies, table games, and other sets to meet the growing demand. Pokies maintain their place as the most popular titles in gambling dens, and those that have been released since the pandemic hit include;
- Book of Tombs
- Elvis Frog in Vegas
- Cash Pig
- Viking Runes
- Dragon Slayer
- Hot Stuff
- Desperate Dawgs
- Wolf Power: Hold and Win
- Wizarding Wins
Live casinos also service players that crave real-life gambling experiences. Some brick-and-mortar establishments have taken to streaming gaming sessions online to keep their clients happy. Others that already had the options featured in their catalogues have expanded the choice list to meet more player requirements, such as broad bets and vast table and card game variations.
More Casino Options
The casino options available online have also expanded alongside those of games. Numerous operators have taken advantage of the influx in online gambling to open gambling establishments. When playing in these new gambling dens, it is crucial to confirm that they can offer fair and secure services. Some qualities to pay attention to include;
- Proper licensing from local and international authorities
- Security measures that protect money and personal information from hackers and fraudsters
- A vast game collection to allow the exploration of various options
- Free and real money game options
- Reputable online money transfer channels
Limited Sports Betting
While online casinos thrive thanks to the novel coronavirus, the sports industry has not been immune to its challenges. While sports bets are often placed online, their results depend on physical factors such as football, rugby, basketball, and hockey matches. With social distancing and masking policies in place worldwide, it is impossible to carry out such activities. Most sporting events cancelled their 2020 seasons and only recently started to fire back up.
Booming eSports Sector
The COVID-19 shockwaves affecting the sports industry have a positive ripple effect on the eSports sector. These games depend on online simulations rather than physical events. Therefore, players can continue placing stakes as usual. The online migration has also led to an uptick in eSports popularity by offering those that depended on sports entertainment an alternative.
The world’s slowly recovering from the pandemic effects, and there is finally light at the end of the tunnel thanks to vaccine provision. Some of the virus’s effects on Australia’s online gambling business are likely to be permanent, while others will wear off with the virus.