Just over one year ago, the entire world was shaken when the coronavirus, named Covid-19, started to spread to all corners of the planet. The World Health Organization officially declared Covid-19 as a worldwide pandemic in March 2020. Since this time, we have seen multiple countries going into lockdown. Several industries were severely affected in the process – and this includes the gambling industry.
Several land-based gambling facilities were forced to close their doors during the lockdown period. This had a significant impact on their performance, resulting in months with no profits generated. The online casino industry, however, did experience an opposite effect. This post takes a closer look at how the gambling industry has changed during the Covid-19 global pandemic.
Covid-19 And Physical Casinos
Physical businesses around the globe experienced the hardest impact from the pandemic. With this in mind, we should start by taking a look at how physical or land-based casinos were affected. A group of researchers posted a paper based on statistical data collected between February and June 2020. The data was related to the casino industry and looked at how these businesses were affected when global lockdowns were initiated. Tax payments were the primary factor taken into consideration – as this has a direct indication of revenue generated by casinos and other gambling-related business ventures.
A significant reduction in tax payments was recorded by physical casinos. This allowed the researchers to make a conclusion that land-based casino operators were certainly affected in a negative way.
A Switch To Online Gambling During A Global Pandemic
Even though a negative impact was observed among casinos that are based on a physical location, the online gambling industry has not experienced the same impact. There was a slight decline in online gambling usage was observed in March 2020, but the industry quickly recovered and saw an increase in user activity, as well as new registrations.
Currently, the online gambling industry is growing at an 11.5% rate on an annual basis. One report states that there are several factors currently driving the increasing interest in online gambling platforms. This includes easier access to the internet, the ability to play from home, and the legalization of these digital platforms.
There are additional reasons why people have been increasingly turning to online gambling platforms – especially during the Covid-19 pandemic that we are still facing.
Here are a few of the primary reasons why there has been an increase in the number of people turning to online gambling websites:
- As we entered a pandemic and lockdowns were initiated, sports were put on hold. This caused many people to miss out on standard sport betting opportunities. Online casinos, however, gave these individuals a chance to continue betting on virtual sports events.
- With online casinos, there is no risk of being infected with the Covid-19 virus – as no physical interaction with other individuals is needed.
- The ability to play casino games from home provided an attractive opportunity. There is no need to visit a physical location and no long drives to be concerned about.
- Many people started to work from home during the pandemic. This gave them a more flexible schedule to work with and allowed them to have a computer at home. These two elements further drove an increase in online casino activity among the population.
- Those who were in a career affected by Covid-19 found themselves with extra time on their hands. This also led to more people turning to online activities and games to kill time.
Several statistical reports have been released to help us understand how the industry had grown in the pandemic – with a primary focus on online gambling games.
In one report, it is reported that between April and October 2020, a 43% growth in the online poker game industry was noted. In the United States, a 255% increase in first-time players related to online poker games was noted in the same period.
In another report, it was noted that the online casino industry surged to an all-time high in terms of both new user registrations and activity in the lockdown period.
Here, we can see that interest spiked within a matter of days. The data shows that more people started to search for online gambling platforms when the coronavirus outbreak started. The trend continued to increase further.
Since the start of lockdowns, many companies have also provided their input. One publication explains that lockdown can be considered a good reason for people to turn to online casinos. While there are risks with these activities, the benefits need to be noted too. By playing these games from home, it reduces a person’s risk of being infected with the virus – thus serving as a type of protective barrier compared to land-based casinos where people frequently interact with each other. Other benefits include welcome bonuses, which is something people do not gain access to when they visit a physical casino. This can add to the funds available to play, giving the person a better opportunity to make a profit from their gambling activities.
While the Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the global population, there are some industries that seemed to remain stable. Physical casinos were adversely affected, with some larger casinos being closed completely due to the pandemic. On the other hand, we have observed increased interest in the online gambling industry. Numerous individuals turned to internet-based casinos during the pandemic, and the trend has continued to remain stable.
Carolina Fiel is a professional with experience in various industries. She is passionate about content production and currently serves as a Redator freelancer at Upwork.