Covid-19 has affected people the world over, with businesses in every sector closing day by day, but what has been the economic knock on effect on the gambling industry?
In some cases the impact has been catastrophic, and in other cases less so. What can commonly be concluded, to varying degrees of severity, is that the gambling industry as a whole is experiencing some form of slump.
Casinos are the worst affected
Casinos have undoubtedly been the worst affected, as they rely on people coming through the door to play and generate their income. Social distancing and stay at home measures across the world have seen casinos have to close doors immediately, with no projected reopening dates in sight. As is the case with many other retail and hospitality businesses, the day when casinos can go back to operating as normal looks to be a far stretch into the future, with many casinos in doubt if they can reopen their doors at all.
In the USA, all eyes have naturally been on Las Vegas, a city whose economy is built almost entirely around casinos and gambling. In a bid to try and bring tourists and high rollers back to the city as soon as possible, the Mayor of Las Vegas, Carolyn Goodman, has offered up the city as an experimental control group for the easing of social distancing measures. Unsurprisingly, this is a move that proved controversial, and has faced serious backlash from both politicians and the public.
Online casino and poker custom see dramatic increase
While brick and mortar casinos find themselves in dire straits, online casinos in the US have seen dramatic rises in members and cashflow. New Jersey’s Department of Gaming Enforcement reported that gross gaming revenue is up 64.4% for online casinos. Industry giants 888 Holdings have seen the popularity of their online casino and poker games increase also, which has led to a 32% increase in shares.
Sports shutdown see online betting down
The rise in online casino and poker gaming is unlikely to do enough to make up for the loss of revenue that online sports betting looks set to suffer in 2020. As social distancing laws have become the norm in countries across the globe, sport has ground to a halt worldwide. A lack of sport to bet on has led (and will inevitably lead to more) losses. While the increase in online casino players does help, it’s doubtful that it will make up for the lost revenue from major sporting events that are not taking place. While the Belarussian and Nicaraguan football leagues have experienced newfound popularity among punters, it’s highly unlikely they will even come close to replacing profits that will be missed from major sporting events. With Euro 2020, the Olympics and Fury vs Wilder III already cancelled, it looks certain that no major sporting events will be held before the end of the year.
Look on the brightside
With the German Bundesliga looking to restart in May behind closed doors and New Zealand reopening their racetracks, there is some hope that things may start to pick up from here on in. What's more, all of the cancelled events in 2020 will likely be rescheduled sometime in 2021, so there’s hope for a brighter future yet.