Online casinos are reporting a surge in revenues and new sign-ups in March. Their theory is that the move is related to the coronavirus. While this is good news for online casinos it may be bad news for companies that operate both virtual and brick and mortar casinos.
The coronavirus started in China and has since spread across the world. Because nobody has a natural immunity to it spreads very quickly from person to person. In reaction to these many states have issued orders shutting down their brick and mortar casinos. Other casinos have not been ordered to shut down but have done so voluntarily in order to help the greater good.
That's all well and fine but it does lead a good deal of lost potential revenue. On the other hand, in states where online gambling is legal, there has been a huge uptick in placing bets over the Internet.
For example, the Golden Nugget online casino has seen a jump of 20% in new sign-ups in March. That's the biggest increase ever for any online casino in America.
Some analysts say the rate of people betting at and signing up for online casinos may actually double in April.
“When the NBA shut down, we really saw a sharp increase since that date,” said Robin Chhabra, FOX Bet's CEO, as reported by the Associated Press. “We're seeing a very strong shift to poker and online casino.”
In one way this is good news. The online casino industry has been working very hard to get a foothold in American life. People are used to going to brick and mortar casinos and turning their gambling into something they do on vacation.
Online gambling tries to entice them into playing at home and the idea that they can gamble whenever they want to. That is something that is new to people and it's hard to change someone's mindset about when and where they gamble.
But now the lack of brick and mortar casinos in driving people to the online games. That's good in that it spreads awareness that they exist. And when people try online gambling and realize how much fun it is it's great for the industry as a whole.
This period of lockdown will certainly have an overall positive effect on how much people know about online casinos. And it will certainly raise awareness of them as an option.
That said people who own both brick and mortar and online casinos say the additional betting online does not even come close for making up for their losses on their brick and mortar casinos. It helps but they are still in the hole.
Of course, that may change as more and more people realize just how much fun betting online can be. It's possible that in the future much more people will place bets online that go to an actual brick and mortar casino.
Some casino operators are using the virus as a way to pressure states where online gambling is illegal to quickly make it legal. The argument they are making to legislators is this “The state gets a lot of tax revenue out of gambling at brick and mortar sites. Now that revenue is not coming in. Wouldn't it be a good idea to replace that revenue with taxes coming from online casinos?”
No new state has legalized online gambling in March. However, if these numbers keep up you can bet that it will be on the minds of many governors in the next couple of months.