Without a doubt, COVID-19 pandemic is a tragedy that has greatly impacted the world's population. You can attest to the fact that we are living in unique times, and it’s vitally essential to note that this catastrophe is continually affecting every country differently.
Today, millions of people have been ordered to stay at home, and non-essential service providers have had to shut their businesses. The gambling industry hasn't been spared since brick and mortar gambling joints, as well as online casinos, have to adjust to the new world order.
The effects of COVID-19 on brick and mortar gambling
The most efficient way to prevent and slow the spread of this disease that has wreaked havoc across timelines is through social distancing. This is a basic step, but one that has vast ramifications. Even major cities across the globe that are known bustle with human activity day and night are now deserted and are nearly becoming ghost towns.
With over 1.7 billion people on lockdown across the globe, it simply means that more than 20% of the world’s population cannot leave their houses unless under strict guidelines. Only businesses offering essential services are allowed to open, and since casinos are not essential services, they have been forced to lock their doors, and players need to adjust accordingly.
Whether forced or on their own accord, brick and mortar casinos have closed down to adhere to the social distancing rules. To understand the impact this pandemic has had on the gambling industry, even casinos in Macau, which is regarded as the largest gambling hub closed for two weeks when infections were on their peak, and only reopened when they reduced.
Since there are no sports taking place at the moment, even betting shops have to shut their doors. This means that millions or even billions of bucks will be lost depending on the evolution of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The online casino situation in the midst of the pandemic
Thanks to the internet, gambling enthusiasts don't have to leave their homes to gamble. The online gambling industry, unlike its land-based counterparts, has recorded an increase in their clientele population, which simply means that they are earning millions of dollars in revenue every day.
Online casinos are helping players to play several slot machines, table games, live casinos, wagers, and jackpot games at the comfort of their vicinity.
As a result of the virus, it is expected that this already robust industry will see a significant increase in traffic. Due to some factors such as stress, boredom, and the urge to make some money, a majority of people will turn to online gambling.
A recent joint study by analytics firm AlphaBeta and Australian Credit Bureau has revealed that online gambling increased by a whopping 67% over the first week of April after non-essential services were shutdown.
Based on a sample of transactions from 250,000 Australian consumers, the online gambling industry is a significant gainer of the pandemic alongside online retail, subscription services, and food delivery. Plenty of websites are giving away bonuses for newcomers, such as online betting website BetAmerica.com.
The United States has recorded a 43% surge in the use of online poker websites since lockdown took effect in various states. According to Global Poker, there was a 255% increase in new signups to these sites.
Could the rise of online casinos lead to problem gambling?
Even though online casinos are some of the biggest gainers in this pandemic, they could as well spell disaster if urgent action is not taken.
The implications of problem gambling brought by these casinos will mostly be seen in children, teenagers, and young adults who are more likely to spend a lot of their time online. According to studies, young people are motivated to gamble by socializing, money, and winning.
Due to the nature of online gambling, experts say that it could have more damaging effects than land-based outlets, and problem gambling emanating from it could have more adverse effects in life.
Understandably, the focus for many governments now is to contain the virus, slow its spread, treat the affected, and improve healthcare provision. It is, therefore, every gambler's responsibility to ensure that they embrace responsible gambling practices and only gamble what they can afford to lose.
There are many other things that can be done during this pandemic, including gardening, home renovations, blogging, freelancing, and many more. Therefore, don't spend all day playing for real money in online casinos, because this could land you in more financial strain in the already collapsing world economy.