Online Gambling & How Did Covid-19 Affect It in 2020?
One of the major consequences of the health crisis was the cancellation of huge sports events like UEFA Euro 2020 and the Olympic Games, both postponed for 2021.
That tanked betting on live events and closed land-based casinos across the globe. The damage to the industry is mind-bending. But with the enacted stay-at-home orders, the world saw a significant spike in the demand for digital entertainment.
Companies like Netflix, Disney+, and Amazon Prime Video saw themselves generating results that they never imagined. The streaming giant Netflix alone saw its forecasts double at the peak of the pandemic. That hunger for digital entertainment did not skip the gambling industry.
The Consequences of Shutting Down Land-Based Venues
The impact Covid-19 had on land-based gambling, apart from real-event betting, was severe. Within days, huge gambling sites were closed and off-limits. Macao’s Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau reported a gross monthly revenue drop of 87.8% in February 2020 and 93.2% in May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Similarly, Las Vegas was just as badly hurt. The state of Nevada lost 53.58% in fees collected from taxable revenue, whereas licensed casino operators reported a gambling revenue drop in March of 39.57%.
Staggering numbers that smothered the gambling world. But the largest and most fun gambling venues around the globe are preparing the open for business on June 4th. If you’ve been hoping to realize that vacation at the gambling capital of the US, Las Vegas will be able to welcome you.
Just like with everything else, the new normal forces land-based casinos to take safety measures. To reopen safely, the largest operators in Las Vegas have in place safety plans. An example of such a safety plan includes:
- Regular temperature checks and screenings of the employees;
- Employees must wear PPE at all times;
- Visitors are advised to wear PPE when in common areas;
- A mandatory physical distance of 6 feet;
- Easy access to washing stations and hand sanitizers;
- Enhanced cleaning routines of common areas;
- Strict air quality control complying with air filter requirements;
- Improved and expanded digital services;
- Improved incident response protocols.
The thing with land-based casinos, for example in Las Vegas, is that their opening will be demand-based and gradual. If you’re still wary of going into the fray of the fun, you still have the option of online gambling instead.
Online Gambling Gains Momentum In the Covid-19 Pandemic
Online gambling provides the necessary distance and all the fun in the comfort of users’ homes. But with the overall hit the industry sustained, the activity seemed to drop. What researchers discovered is that the overall interest in gambling and related activities has actually grown.
Google collects search data from 2004. Up to date, for the UK, for example, there’s an evident sharp increase in the last three months. Gambling advertising during the lockdown months has been steadily increasing but awareness seemed to remain the same.
But March 2020 marks an interesting increase in the type of bets players have made, and the time or money they’ve spent gambling. Reported data shows that virtual sports bets, poker, and slots bets online have increased respectively by 40%, 38%, and 25%, with other gaming increasing just 3%. At the same time, real-event bets have tanked with 31%.
Active players, those who’ve made one or more bets, for March have also increased. Players on slots and other gaming activities with just 25% and 13% respectively, whereas, active players with virtual and poker bets – with 88% and 53% compared to the same period last year.
The UKGC research also discovered that engaged players have started spending more money or more time gambling online. Such an increase is seen with 64% of engaged gamblers. To add to that, despite the 4-minute drop in average session length, sessions of more than 1 hour have actually increased by 23%.
Despite the evident decrease in overall gambling activities, these online gambling numbers worry the UKGC. It issued guidelines on how to apply more strict measures to protect vulnerable gamblers from compulsive gambling.
Responsible Gambling in a Time of Crisis
The Coronavirus outbreak displaced many people out of the workforce. It hurt disposable income and damaged millions, if not billions of budgets around the globe. That opens people up to alternative sources of income making them vulnerable.
It can be worrisome that more engaged gamblers bet more money and spend more time gambling. It is important to always gamble with a strict money management strategy set in place. You can’t count on one big win to solve your problems in a time of crisis.
Whether you’ll continue betting online or you’ll rejoin the land-based venues when they reopen, is up to you. But it’s also up to you to do it responsibly. Gambling addictions have often been associated with the mental state we’re in. Instead of a hobby, gambling might turn into a nightmare.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hurt the mental health of billions around the globe. It is important to remember that gambling, although a form of entertainment, is not a long-term solution for taking your mind off things. We at MoveYourMoney.org.uk urge you to gamble responsibly and seek help if you need it.
Gambling assistance, especially now that we are all straining under the mental weight of the pandemic, is available 24/7. If you need help, you can get help. It’s important to keep bets and gambling fun and exciting, and not harmful.
The world is anxious to witness what would come out of the reopening of some of the biggest land-based gambling venues.
If you’re going to enjoy the thrill of the game in person on the floor of a big casino, don’t forget to take the necessary measures to keep yourself and those around you safe! But if you’re not ready to experience gambling in person, you can always rely on the online gambling world.
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