The COVID-19 outbreak has affected the different cogs of the gambling industry in unique ways. On the one hand, UK online casinos have not been massively affected by the outbreak, some live dealer games may have been taken off the online casino menu, but for the most part, it has been business as usual. Many online casinos may have even attracted more members considering it has been one of the only forms of accessible gambling during the lockdown. Slot games have seen a surge in popularity and at PartyCasino we even had a lucky jackpot winner.
On the other hand, sports betting has taken a significant knock due to the lack of sporting action. Most sports gamblers have had to turn to the Belarus Premier League, a virtual Grand National race or even betting on eSports. But what about bricks-and-mortar casinos? How has the casino industry been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, and how will this change casinos over the following months?
The Negative Impact of COVID-19 on Casinos
Entertainment venues like casinos were instructed to close in the UK and abroad, including Las Vegas. This has meant that no casinos in most locations are open for business right now. This will have a devastating effect on casinos and their revenue, while still having to pay contracted staff or face laying casino workers off. The American Gaming Association predict that each day the lockdown is in place, the Nevada tourism industry loses almost $5 billion.
UK casinos are a little more protected than in some other nations because they can tap into government support. Casinos can get financial help to help pay salaries up to a capped 80% their monthly wage, as long as that salary is £2,500 or below.
The bottom line is that the house edge is no longer around to help the casino make a profit, and casinos are losing money each day they remain closed. The slightly better news is that some of the more prominent and more famous casinos have enough money to see them through this unstable period.
Further Worries for Casinos
The further worries are that gamblers who came to casinos to enjoy some of their disposable income may disappear in the aftermath of a lockdown. The economy will shrink, and people may start to spend less of their money – or have less to spend on entertainment like gambling.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, financial insecurities among the general population could turn people to gambling for the wrong reasons. Instead of gambling what they can afford to lose, some people may start using casinos more to recoup financial losses and reinstall an income – which is just as concerning for casinos.
Suggested Ways to Help Casinos Recover Quickly
The key to success is being able to make casinos a safe place for gamblers to return to as soon as the lockdown is lifted. If there is a chance that a casino is an unsafe place, it could force governments to keep them closed or scare people from visiting. This means:
· Increasing social distancing within casinos
· Employing more cleaners to work more often
· Giving dealers, other casino workers and players masks to wear
· Following government advice
· Banning players with suspected virus symptoms until they have recovered