The impact of coronavirus on the gaming industry is quite evident and has led economies across the world into a deep ditch. Fear of the spread of the dangerous coronavirus is keeping people inside their homes. All festivals, meetings, fairs and sporting events are postponed for “better days”. Real casinos are suffering the greatest plunge and for this year Macau, the world’s biggest gambling mecca, is forecasting a 56% decline in gaming revenue compared to 2019 which is the steepest decline ever.
Since table games, slot machines, or sports betting establishments are places where it’s difficult to maintain social distancing and people have refrained from visiting those land-based outlets, the popularity of online is on the rise. The quality of online casinos is increasing, and in addition to that everyone can now play the game safely from the comfort of their home free from any restrictions or risks. The rise of mobile casino platforms seen in the recent years has provided an opportunity for all people to experience what a real casino feels like and virtual reality is slowly being introduced to online casino games. With the introduction of blockchain and cryptocurrency, payments have become faster and safer allowing gamblers to stay anonymous. All of the above has contributed to pushing even the most reticent players to try online casinos as well as attracting new prospective players who are simply trying to spice up a long dull stay indoors with the thrill of chance.
We can learn from Macau’s experience that prior to reopening the casinos, the authorities required gaming operators to adopt certain measures, such as filling out health statements and the mandatory use of face masks. The government also imposed body-temperature checks at casino entrances as well as increasing the space between gaming tables to avoid large numbers of people from gathering in a small area. The question is how these measures, if applied to land-based casinos worldwide, would influence the prospect and the existing gamblers in the future.
It seems that due to this unprecedented situation some pretty interesting topics are on the horizon, and the gambling industry is about to change together with the global and local economies.