Coronavirus: Casinos are struggling, but not online

Posted on March 18, 2020 by Sonoma Valley Sun

More than 350,000 cases of the Covid19 coronavirus has been verified around the world, and the pandemic is affecting almost all industries, the gambling industry included.

In Macau, where some casinos have had to close down their operations temporarily, the revenues have been at a record low.

Bookmakers are also heavily affected as most sports leagues are either paused, postponed or cancelled all together. For example, the European Championship in football will be postponed until summer 2021.

But as we’re seeing the same thing happen in the US and Europe, with casinos closing up shop and gambling stocks tanking, there is a silver lining for the industry: online casinos and esports.

Online casinos and eSports could fill the gap

The lack of sports events available to place bets on and with physical casinos closing there are 2 potential segments that could save the gambling sector: esports (electronic sports) and online casino sites.

The esports industry is not 100% unaffected, as no big events can play in front of an audience. However, the leagues continue as usual, and at this time players can play even when in quarantine from their home.

The same goes for online casinos as players can play from a remote location. Incredibly popular right now, for example, are online slots

Robin Chhabra, CEO of gambling operator FOX Bet, said the following to abc news: “When the NBA shut down, we really saw a sharp increase since that date,” and “We’re seeing a very strong shift to poker and online casino.”

Some early signs of this potential esports boost is the fact that the largest gaming platform in the world, Steam, just registered all time high numbers of active users.

The platform had over 20 million active players at the same time, with over 1 million of them playing CS:GO, a popular game which is also popular on esports betting sites.

U.S. casinos help local communities

Even though the US is in the early stage of the coronavirus pandemic multiple physical casinos all across the USA are assisting their local communities to prepare for what’s coming.

Las Vegas Sands, who operates the Palazzo and Venetian casinos in Las Vegas is donating $250,000 to Nevada based charities who run local shelters.

MGM Casinos from all over the US are pooling together and donating tons of food to schools and local food banks.

Another example of land-based casinos doing good is the Rincon tribe, a Native American tribe who operates and owns the Harrah’s casinos. The tribe followed in the footsteps of MGM and donated tons of provisions to local food banks.

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