Remarkably waited with bated breath, the new decade has come with an unfortunate health scare in the form of Covid-19 or Coronavirus as widely known. The global iGaming market has equally felt the impact of sending shockwaves across stock and commodity markets.
With the effects expected around the world, some gaming companies are, however, taking the positive side of it as they roll out their sleeves to keep people busy indoors.
China regarded as the epicenter of coronavirus as borne the full brunt of this sad reality. Understood by medical experts as a highly contagious human-to-human epidemic, global bodies such as World Health Organization have described it as a worldwide epidemic that calls for concerted efforts to lower the number of infected persons to manageable levels. Countries have closed their airspaces while others like Italy; are under total lockdown.
Travel agencies and companies have felt the pinch owing to canceled trips. Equally feeling gravitas of matter is the global tourism outlook of which a gloomy picture stares at us. Airports paint a picture of deserted structures in some Chinese regions and Italian parts.
Main sporting activities including but not limited to UEFA Champions League, Europa League, Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, NCAA Tournament, MLB, NHL, and NBA have all put the sporting activities to a standstill until further notice.
How iGaming Market Feels with Coronavirus
The iGaming market is not immune to coronavirus. Coming at a time when Chinese were in full gear to usher in their new year, the expectation is high traffic in shopping malls, gaming kiosks, and casinos. It is mainly the opposite as movement is restricted to curb further infections. Majorly, short-term effect in the Chinese gaming market is relatively ‘rosy’ as people continue to stream live games while indoors. Coronavirus themed games are available, perhaps to tone down anxiety.
The Shengqu Games, Dragon Nest and Moyu through NetDragon have recorded an increase in the subscription after a long period of relatively low traffic. Generally, the first quarter of the Chinese year will experience an unlikely surge in PC gaming. It is primarily due to like rise in frequency and playtime as individuals stay at home.
Some of the gaming companies that have so far recorded increased traffic include.
Lilith Game – recorded increased downloads and periodic active users on its newly released ‘AFK Arena’, which is available on popular web channels, like Tik Tok and Weibo. Read AFK guide to know more about the game.
Tencent – Its game ‘Horror of Kings’ has generated a whopping 150 Million DAUs while ‘Peacekeeper Elite’ recorded an incredible 100 Million DAU.
Hong Kong’s city of Macau is equally feeling coronavirus gravitas. Considered as one of the world’s biggest gambling cities, revenues from gambling revenue went down by close to 87.8% owing to several measures put in place to keep away gamblers from the busy land-based casinos.
European and USA betting and gambling markets are feeling the pinch of novel Covid-19. With the suspension of major sporting events like premier league and UEFA champions league, bookmakers are bracing for tough times ahead. In America, bettors on National Hockey League (NHL) have to look for alternative markets owing to competition suspension. Equally suspended are Major League Baseball and National Basketball Association. For land-based casino gaming enthusiasts, casinos like Boyd Gaming have temporarily shut their doors, leaving Pennsylvanians with limited options.
Besides Europe and the USA, gambling and betting companies have seen downward negative spirals on their share values. To start with is the plummeting of share prices of these companies caused by global turmoil and uncertainty. Some of betting and gambling operators affected include.
William Hill – share prices have more than halved from February 21st, 2020.
GVC Holdings – the owner of renowned Ladbrokes and Coral casino, has seen its share prices go down by more than 20%.
Flutter Entertainment – the owner of Paddy Power Betfair, has seen its share value shred by 15.45%.
Playtech- a trusted gaming company software provider, has experienced shares that have fallen by more than 15% in its Italian Franchise Snaitech.
Going by arguments of Goodbody leisure and gaming analyst Gavin Kelleher, things are not rosy in entire gambling and betting industry, a situation that is further deteriorating owing to regulatory red tapes. “The overall market is weak, and people are worried about a number of things relative to gambling sector,” Kelleher says. Source: Racing Post
Stay at Home and Play For Fun
With the real risk of contracting the virus, the only place to stay safe is home. Euphemized as quarantine or self-quarantine, this is a fruitful preventive measure. It reduces contact instances, which significantly minimizes your chance of contracting the virus from significant others.
For iGaming enthusiasts, it the best time to try free casino slot games just for fun. With lots of games to choose from, you can easily enjoy your gaming rounds on an iPad or Android mobile device. No download versions are there in plenty. The value is added with bonus rounds and free spins. Either for real money or for fun, classic fruit machines are available with no registration fee whatsoever. No deposit bonuses are equally activated without having to put any of your penny into the stake.
Equally experiencing the surge during Coronavirus lockdown are games like Fortnite, which is hugely responsible for more than 70% increase in online traffic across landline networks in Italy (Telecom Italia CEO, Luigi Gubitosi). The Call of Duty latest release (Warzone) also experienced an unprecedented surge with over 6 million players in just 24 hours.
According to the World health organization, person-to-person infections are mainly through tiny droplets from the mouth of an individual infected by coronavirus when he or she exhales or cough. As such, it is imperative to ensure quarantine in case of suspected or confirmed cases.
The idea of quarantine in Italy and China, like the rest of the world, is mostly the same. Once you have you have tested positive for the virus, specialized medical experts will isolate you to prevent you from spreading it. While under isolation, proper medical care is administered until when doctors restore your health status.
The business is not as usual. The closure of industries, malls, and workstations comes with a lot of free time. Perhaps you could hop from one game to the next if your gaming store is full of favorites.
Donations From Gambling Operators
With the virus spreading like a bush fire, gambling operators have felt a charity obligation to help combat the pandemic. In Hong Kong, for instance, the Macau economy is nearing shut down. An estimated $22.2 Million have been set aside by junket and gaming companies in a bid to find a lasting cure the Covid-19. Some companies and charities across Asia, Europe, and the USA to have set donated to this noble cause include:
- Suncity group – $5.18 Million;
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation– $100 Million and extra $5 Million for public health agencies;
- Sands China – $3.12 Million;
- Melco Resorts – $2.5 Million;
- MGM Resorts International– $2.5 Million.
Making No Predictions
The risk for contracting coronavirus has caught the entire world by surprise. Medical experts and global leaders have warned against alarmist and scaremongering pieces of information on both social media and mainstream media platforms. Effects on all gaming industry and sporting activities are devastating due to cancellations of regular leagues and tournaments. Going by general medical directives, in extreme cases like Italy and China, you need to stay safe at home and probably enjoy a game or two as gaming companies are optimizing all your favorite games for mobile compatibility.