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
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:
social distancing within casinos
more cleaners to work more often
dealers, other casino workers and players masks to wear
players with suspected virus symptoms until they have recovered