Socially Responsible Gambling During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus will have a severe economic impact on the global economy. Some say that the recession following the pandemic outbreak of the Coronavirus will be at Great Depression levels or worse. In this time when it is of the utmost importance keep consumer spending levels as high as possible, how ethical is it for gambling operators to promote online gambling as a “corona-free” alternative for land-based casino customers?

Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, the gaming industry has taken a severe plunge. Most land-based casinos have been closed and are now transitioning their services online. This industry represents a major part of the global economy, reaching a value of nearly USD 449.3 billion in 2018. Growth rates in this industry have seen compound annual growth rates of 4.1% since 2014 and were projected to continue to grow at 5.9% by 2022. These projections, which were the result of favourable visa policies, emerging market growth and urbanisation trends, will inevitably take a hit in the wave of the corona pandemic.

So as the market becomes more difficult to navigate, and governments leave the gambling industry out of relief programs, casino operators are looking to move their business online in order to keep gamblers immersed in play in an effort to remain afloat. This however, comes with a certain level of scrutiny from those concerned with addictive behaviours and customers who display signs of gambling disorders. As we move deeper into the Corona crisis, more and more people will turn to online gambling as a distraction. Different operators have taken various approaches to make socially responsible contributions in the wake of the Corona pandemic. Operators in the Philippines have made donations in the millions to help government efforts to fight the corona infection. Others have made donations through their charitable foundations to medical equipment and treatments, and still others are giving directly to their communities in the form of food and groceries. Gaming Innovation Group (GIG) has taken one step further and is using its advanced technology to monitor keywords to prevent Coronavirus based advertising and has taken a strong stance against profiting off the back of the Corona crisis.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues and deepens, the true affects on the economy will remain to be seen. In the meantime, the gaming industry looks to brand integrity and the protection of its corporate social responsibility programs to shield their business and mitigate the potential risks to their staff and customers.