Why Gambling Industry Has More Chances for Success During the Pandemic?

There is no denying that casinos have a considerable impact on the world economy. This axiom starts sounding particularly relevant in such hard times like ours, when the majority of industries, the gambling sectors including, are in decline. During the coronavirus pandemic, when airplanes are grounded and airports are closed, the airline industry have lost around $314 billion in unfulfilled 2020 ticket sales so far. As coronavirus is still raging and borders of many countries are shut down, its drop might not be over. Shares of cruises are also sinking during the lockdown: only in March, stocks of Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corp., and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings dipped by more than 50 percent. Automakers have met similar fate. Analysts have estimated that American auto sales could decline by 20 percent in 2020.

When social distancing is maintained and people are not allowed to gather in large crowds or even to be outside, entertainment and live sports industries also suffer a blow. This year, Disney can lose revenue of about $500 million per week that its parks are emptied of people. Hotels, tourism, movies, tech, retail, transportation, and food services are in the same leaking boat. Casinos are no exception either. American Gaming Association Estimated in March a potential $21 billion loss from their closures.

Whether they are looked at individually or combined, the industries do not draw an optimistic picture of the world economy in 2020. To arrest their fall, many industries have opted to get out of the quarantine, despite rising death rates in some places. Countries have been lifting the national lockdown since the end of May. Borders have started to reopen, airplanes to fly, and restaurants to feed people. Although casinos are not vital to life and do not provide bread, like the food industry, they still provide games, which people have been missing during the pandemic. When American casinos began to reopen their doors to customers at the beginning of June, people lined up outside them from 4 o’clock in the morning on the opening day. They even drove from different states to enjoy betting or playing poker, not daunted by the quarantine restrictions and new safety rules introduced by casino operators to rein in the spread of the virus.

By opening amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the gambling industry, like other declining sectors, hopes to balance out the losses incurred during the last free months. Its situation, however, is brighter than that of, say, the airplane or tourist industries. Neither of the last two financially benefits when people browse tourist places online. The casino industry, by contrast, can thrive from customers’ online gambling. On March 16, New Jersey issued closing orders for its land-based casinos, showing that their revenue fell 61.7 percent compared to March 2019. Its online gambling revenue over the same period, however, grew 65.7 percent. Indeed, the lockdown period has proved to be particularly beneficial for digital casinos: quarantined inside their houses, people were driven to play and gamble more. In Finland alone, more than 3,000 new customers joined Veikkaus, the state-owned gambling agency, after it had closed all brick-and-mortar casinos, or “kasinot” in Finnish, and had switched off all its slot machines.

Online gambling attracts customers not only because they are bored in the lockdown. The choice of games on the internet is much richer than their arsenal in land-based casinos, especially now, when all reopened casinos do not work at their full capacity. To preserve social distancing, casino operators have left the largest part of their slot machines closed. Poker has become now a five-hand game, which gamblers find tad boring. One does not deal with similar problems at digital casinos even in quarantine. Online casinos always offer gamblers different poker games, lotteries, sports betting, esports, roulette, scratch cards, and themed slots. While poker lovers feel restricted in land-based casinos at the moment, they can play a variety of games online: Taxes HoldEm, Pot-Limit Omaha, Seven-Card Stud, Razz, and 2-7 Triple Draw. Some players even say that graphics on casino websites are more attractive than in games played on real-world slot machines.

E-sports do not even exist in brick-and-mortar casinos, since it combines sports betting with video gaming. It also depends on streaming technology for its existence. In the quarantine, e-sports fare much better than live sports events, cancelled since March. While the NBA league, whose games were halted, is predicted to lose in 2020 about $450 million from ticket sales alone, E-sports leagues is continuing their competition by playing online. E-sports matches are streamed via YouTube or Twitch and are watched by millions of people. Indeed, their online audience has grown substantially over the past few month. Gen.G has seen an 18.2 percent jump in Chinese viewership. The first day of the ESL Pro League had an audience of 146,000 viewers, which is a 27 percent increase from the last year. In Finland, E-sports are particularly popular. There is a bi-annual event organized in Helsinki, and some colleges even include E-sports courses in their curriculum.

Bonuses are more generous in digital casinos than they are in brick-and-mortar gambling houses. Newcomers receive large welcome bonuses, 100 or 200 percent on their first deposit. King Billy, for example, showers Finnish customers with a welcome deposit up to €500. No land-based casino gives free spins to players, but the majority of digital casinos do. In Finland, Karamba casino and NextCasino allow their customers to spin 100 times free of charge. Special deals common on online casinos let gamblers boost their bankroll and pay longer. Loyal customers enjoy various loyalty schemes.

Thanks to people’s enthusiasm for digital gambling, the casino industry will be better off than other industries, when the pandemic is over. Even if a second wave of coronavirus hits the world, as doctors often fear, the gambling sector will pull through it, too, as long as gamblers continue wagering online.

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