11 January 2021
By Roger Jones
The onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic brought the world economy to a grinding halt in 2020. The gaming industry took a surprisingly bad hit, with brick-and-mortar casinos remaining closed throughout the global lockdowns. From South Africa to Las Vegas, casinos closed their doors, and punters had to find other venues for their action.
Bingo halls and betting shops remain closed, with owners facing tremendous hardship. The closure of racetracks and the termination of many sports leagues left sports betting shops suffering. The only sport available for betting throughout 2020 was the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).
With physical locations experiencing business coming to a grinding halt, online casinos are thriving. It seems that the online gaming industry absorbed much of the action from regular punters, with casino slot games experiencing record traffic in 2020.
There was a Notable Switch to Online Gaming in 2020
The lockdowns left millions of gamblers stuck at home with nothing to do. While physical betting locations and casinos had to shut their doors, online vendors faced no such restrictions. As a result, the online casino industry experienced its biggest year ever, with most casino venues experiencing record volumes.
Many players look for a no account casinos when playing online, making it challenging to follow the exact number of players moving their business online. However, judging from the bump in revenues in Q2 and Q3 of 2020, Q4 will set new records for the online gaming industry.
Volumes at the virtual tables will certainly continue to explode, especially as the western world goes back into lockdown during the winter. This year, during the lockdowns, the most popular gaming choices were slot machines and card games, both experiencing record volumes of online players in 2020.
Many physical operators are taking their business online, and there’s an increase in the amount of new online casinos and gaming venues launching on the internet. With the market shifting direction, smart owners understand the importance of moving their business into the digital world.
However, according to estimates, online operators saw an increase in revenues of over 13% so far in 2020. We expect the trend to continue into 2021, as more gamblers move to find their action online. We also expect the industry to adapt to the changes, and we don’t know if physical gaming will make a comeback until 2022.
The US and UK governments continue to enforce the lockdowns, and with many experts stating that it’s going to continue well into 2021. we don’t see the gaming industry making a comeback any time soon.
The CDC and Dr. Anthony Fauci stated that they though social distancing, mask-wearing, and limited crowd gatherings would have to continue for some time, even as governments introduce vaccine programs in 2021. That’s a shocking statement for any brick-and-mortar casino owner or manager.
The Impact of COVID-19 on Gaming Staff
The coronavirus pandemic not only closed casinos around the world, but it also forced casino staff into furlough or unemployment.
As a result, many dealers, waiters, bartenders, and hotel staff are going through the roughest time of their lives. With government reports stating that there’s no chance of things returning to normal, these individuals rely on unemployment right now.
What are the figures for the Loss in Gaming in 2020?
The virus disruptions in normal social life mean that international gaming revenues are down a staggering 11% in 2020. United Kingdom operators state they experienced a 50% loss in revenues, compared with the previous year.
However, closures were across the globe, and the Chinese gambling mecca, Macau, saw revenues drop by as much as 88% in Q2 2020.
All the findings in this post bring about several questions relating to the future of gambling. It’s clear that physical gaming locations and casinos are on their way out. The chances of these institutions making it through another year of record-low revenues are not good.
Therefore, we can expect to see more brick-and-mortar betting shops and casinos go under in 2021. However, we expect the industry to move online.
The action won’t go away; it will move to a new venue. The online industry can expect steady growth over the next two years as we navigate the rest of the pandemic.
When physical locations do reopen, maybe after introducing vaccine programs, we expect the industry to be a desolate place. Only the top players that had the financial resources to weather the storm will survive. That means your mom-and-pop betting shops are likely to go out of business in the coming months.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a global tragedy for the people and the economy. However, while the physical gambling environment is on life support, the online world of gambling thrives. We expect 2021 to be a record year for online gaming and the possible death knell for the traditional casino industry.