The year 2020 will be remembered as the year of global lockdowns, and who knows how long they will continue all due to COVID-19. Many have been laid-off or have been forced to close down their business for an unknown period. As online gambling is fully based on an online environment, one could think that the industry is not going to have major losses due to the global lockdown.
Although it is somewhat true, online gambling has also received its part of the lockdown. This article handles the topic from five different perspectives: sports betting, online casinos, poker, responsible gaming as well as customer service.
The biggest losses in online gambling will be faced in sports betting. Sports betting, of course, relies on sport events. As many events are cancelled or moved to next year due to the global lockdown, there simply are not enough matches, markets or other sporting events to bet on.
Major events such as The Tokyo Olympic Games and UEFA Euro 2020 are moved to next year in addition to thousands of small, local events. Since major events bring the most revenue to sportsbook providers, it is clear that big losses due to event cancellations can be predicted.
However, as some countries are starting to slowly open from the lockdown, it may be that sports betting will shift towards providing betting services on a local level – at least for now.
To conclude, the hope for the revival of sport betting providers lies in whether countries are going to organize matches without audience participation. This is unfortunately unlikely since there is no ticket revenue when playing for empty stadiums.
Online casinos & slot games
Online casinos may be the winners of the lockdown battle. Although not all sports betting enthusiasts are into slot games, Royalcasino predicts that they may be more intrigued to try and play other products provided online as their sportsbook is not available until further notice.
What is more, people have more time at home, so engaging in a tournament for cash prizes may attract some casual players to spend more time and money on gambling simply out of boredom.
On the other hand, some may be careful with their spending on hobbies and free time, as people have been laid off or there are signs of being laid off in the near future. Global crises are bound to create fear which then puts people in a tough position.
Many cut spendings from all parts of life except necessities, thus some may engage less in online gambling activities.
Casinos have published very mixed results from their 1st quarter and also given various predictions on the results of the 2nd one, so there seems to be a lot of variety in how businesses in the online gambling industry are coping with the lockdown.
If sports betting gets the biggest hit of the global lockdown and online casinos and slot games may be even more popular than before, then what about poker?
Turns out, global lockdowns have not affected poker much.
Online poker has always had its own fans and professional players, and interest towards it seems to be similar to what it was before lockdown.
It may be that some sports betting customers will try poker, but then again those two online gambling products are like night and day.
So far, the only news regarding poker and the global lockdown is that the World Series of Poker has been postponed, but that does not affect online gambling. So, maybe this is the time to learn poker?
Responsible gambling discussion
Indirectly, online gambling is affected by public discussion. Many organizations for supporting gambling addicts as well as news media outlets have brought the discussion of online gambling during global lockdown to the public.
In the UK, health provider NHS has raised a concern over gamblers struggling during the lockdown due to possible stress, boredom or job insecurity.
We all know the speculations hidden behind online gambling and betting.
Furthermore, since land-based casinos have had to close their operations, it is possible that their customers will shift to online platforms.
All in all, online gambling is going to continue business as usual, but it may face criticism from various groups and individuals regarding ethics and marketing activities. Thus some companies may introduce less pushy marketing in order to answer the pressure from the public.
Customer service in Online Gambling
Most companies operating in the online gambling business are working remotely during the lockdown, including customer service and teams closely linked to it, such as payments.
Although it should not have an effect on getting high-quality customer service, waiting times on chats and responses to emails may be longer. Although unlikely, payments may also be delayed either due to the online casino or the payment provider.
Difficult times require a bit of understanding from all of us!
Stay safe. Play safe.