The COVID-19 has had a significant impact on the sports betting and casino industry. Many countries have imposed periods of quarantine to fight the spread of the virus and this has resulted in the cancellation of sports events and the temporary closure of land-based casinos.
Cancellation of sporting events such as horse racing, football and other popular sports has decimated the sports betting world. Bookmakers that had physical shops for betting have had to close due to coronavirus lockdown and social distancing restrictions.
Online sports betting has suffered as well, due to not having the sports events to accept bets on. Casino locations such as Las Vegas, Macau and Atlantic City have seen their revenues plummet due to closures and travel restrictions.
Changes in Gambling Habits
With many people forced to stay indoors, online gambling has seen a significant increase. Online sports betting sites found other ways to provide betting opportunities for example. A lot of gamblers turned to online casinos to play their favorite casino games.
Online casinos have used a number of incentives to gain new players. Most of them are offering generous sign-up bonuses and have introduced more ways to pay such as cryptocurrency. A lot of new games have appeared during the COVID-19 pandemic to entice people to gamble online. New slots seem to be appearing at a rapid pace for example.
People that were used to going to physical locations to gamble are now turning their attention online. The creators of gaming software have optimized their games for mobile players so that they can have the same great gaming experience on their smartphone or tablet device. Playing at the casino with your iPhone is now a common occurrence.
Sports Betting Changing Online
As we said previously, sports betting companies had to come up with ways to overcome the cancellation of live sporting events. Gamblers were looking to the sports betting websites to provide them with alternative ways to bet.
The market turned to electronic sports events known as esports. These events can be played from home and there is no requirement for a team of players to be in the same location. Tournaments based on the FIFA game and NBA games started to attract large audiences online. Sports betting sites compiled odds for the various esports games to allow their members to place bets.
What does the Future hold for Sports Betting and Casinos?
At the time of writing, a number of countries have eased their COVID-19 restrictions or are planning to do so in the near future. This will allow physical betting locations to re-open but they are likely to be limited on the number of people that they can accommodate.
It is likely that there will be more job losses in the sports betting and casino industry as far as physical locations are concerned. Betting online has seen a real surge during the pandemic but nobody really knows if this will continue or not.
When you consider the wider impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is probable that a lot of people will lose their jobs and will not have the money available for gambling. Even when quarantine restrictions are lifted, it is going to take time for things to return to any kind of normality.
Even though millions across the world have had COVID-19 vaccines there is still a threat from mutated strains of the virus. Experts are saying that there will be a “new normal” and that things will never get back to how they were before the pandemic started.
It is interesting to note that one industry that thrived during the Great Depression in the United States was gambling. Even when people have limited resources, some of them will always find a way to place a bet.
This is not great news for the gambling industry as they do not want to be dealing with a large number of desperate gamblers. But this may be the reality going forward. History has taught us that when times are tough people will tend to gamble more than before.