Coronavirus has an undesirable effect on the entire world, as many industries are in a difficult situation. Tourism has been stalled, services have suffered many difficulties, leading to a severe decline in the potential for recovery and development in the near future. Gambling is no exception when it comes to adapting during this pandemic. A lot of change had to happen, often in ways we didn’t expect.
Changes in Casino Gambling Habits
The first change that we can observe is in gambling habits. When the world is implementing social distancing, all casino resorts have suffered a sharp drop in visitor numbers, such as the tourist areas in Las Vegas. This led to a significant change in the gambling habits of many people, namely from visiting land-based casinos to accessing online casinos.
Since mid-February, the infections have become widespread, forcing the US gaming industry to be shut down, with all 465 commercial casinos closed. On the contrary, online casino gambling is seeing growth, although it was allowed in four states only (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Nevada). As a result, the online gambling market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.3% from 2020 to 2021.
However, the tide has turned again with recent development in the COVID-19 vaccine. Since late 2020, more than 50% of Americans have been fully vaccinated, which opens up another opportunity for land-based casinos and resorts. “People are feeling more comfortable traveling as science appears to be getting ahead of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst at Applied Analysis in Las Vegas. Indeed, it almost seems that life has returned to Sin City, with travelers flocking from all around the country.
Changes in Sports Betting
Sports betting has also been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many sports postponed or canceled, many people have changed their betting habits in different directions. The most obvious example is the switch to gambling instead of traditional betting.
Many bookmakers are transitioning to an integrated version of online casino and sports betting, both to stay in the market and to compete for market share with traditional gambling sites. Bettors should seek for CasinoMentor reviews before entering these websites, as they are highly valued in the current gambling industry.
Some people still pursue their passion for sports betting, but in a different form, e-sports. E-sports are played online, so players do not need to come into contact with each other, avoiding the risk of infection. Therefore, e-sports tournaments are always held even in the absence of spectators or players. With a colossal number of people betting on online competition results, eSports is currently a holy ground for bettors.
The Uncertain Future
At present, it is difficult to say anything about the future of online casinos. However, it is clear that some aspects of it are benefiting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem is, how long will it last?
First, the gambling industry has suffered a significant loss over the last year. The impact of COVID-19 has left many people unemployed, covering all different professions, not just gambling. Tourism is stagnant; service industries stop working or have reduced capacity; travel has become difficult, especially between countries on different continents. Damages are estimated to be in the billions of dollars, along with unforeseen consequences. It may take more time for the gambling industry to restore to its original state, not just a year or two.
Second, the gambling industry’s workforce is severely reduced. With prolonged unemployment, many people had to find other options to make ends meet, unable to return to their old jobs. Government aid, as well as the efforts to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic, have a positive effect on people’s lives but not enough to bring everything back to the way it was. The future is undoubtedly gloomy, at least for a couple of years ahead.
Finally, prolonged unemployment means reducing expenditures. Casino players will not be able to afford the services they need, let alone spend on gambling. However, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, this is going positively: life is slowly returning to gambling cities like Las Vegas. It’s something to celebrate, especially in these tumultuous times.
With the continued impact of COVID-19 on the gambling industry, delays and disruptions are inevitable. However, there are still positive signs, such as the blooming of sports betting or the return of domestic and foreign tourist areas. The least we can do is wait and hope for the best.