How COVID-19 has Changed the World of Gambling
The Global Gambling Industry has seen many changes since the beginning of the Global Pandemic in 2020. Each Country has responded in its own way to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 within its own territories. Some have had severe “lockdowns” that saw people confined to their homes for weeks or months on end. Some have restricted or banned International Travel, whereas others have allowed residents to move around freely. Masks are mandatory in many areas including schools and public places. Wherever you live, your life will certainly have been impacted by this outbreak.
So how has the Gambling Industry been impacted?
Well in Countries where lockdowns were enforced, casinos, slot halls, betting shops and arcades had to close and although some were only temporarily, others have had to close their doors permanently. Due to the cancellation of sporting events, the sports betting industry has suffered major losses when figures are compared to previous years. However, there has been an increase in the number of users who are betting on virtual sporting events. Lottery draws were also affected as draws were suspended in many Countries including Italy, Spain, Finland, Brazil, New Zealand, Singapore and Argentina.
In the first half of 2020 Gambling Operators in the UK saw revenues drop by around 50%. In Macau the closure of Casinos for 15 days in February saw an 88% drop in revenue and online and offline betting in Italy saw a 59% drop in March. The Stars Group, GVC Holdings and William Hill have issued statements regarding the posible impact of COVID-19 on their operations as gambling shares on the stock market have seen a sharp decline.
The Boost to the Online Gambling Industry
On the other hand, as more people have been staying at home, the online gambling industry has seen an increase in the number of players. Although this has been good news for the sector as a whole, as people have had a reduction in their monthly household incomes, many players have also started to play online slots and casino table games for free. This is not seen as a bad thing as it has meant that more people have used this opportunity to try different types of games than they would usually play and many have discovered new online slots and casino games to enjoy.
Many regulatory agencies were concerned about this migration to online gambling and to help protect players, some discouraged online casinos from offering new incentives that were aimed at attracting new players, some banned all online gambling during their lockdowns. Others requested that more stringent safe gambling measures were put into place, this including more pop up messages about the dangers of gambling and making sure that links to gambling support websites were more prominently placed on websites.
Obviously the full impact of COVID-19 on the global gambling industry won´t be known until the virus has been totally eradicated. Even with the new vaccines that are becoming available, it is predicted that we could be living with this pandemic for a long while yet. Discover how industry experts predict the industry can recover in our “Online Gaming in 2021: Analytics and Forecasts” blog.