Land Based Casinos React to COVID-19
Casino properties all over the world are still feeling the effects of COVID-19, even as the new year starts. With new surges of infection and increased travel bans, land-based casinos have suffered greatly during the pandemic. Many venues were forced to close back in March, only to reopen at a limited capacity and then asked to close once again. This has led to the loss of much revenue and many casino sticks have plummeted as a result.
Casino destinations like Las Vegas have felt the profound effects of the virus. With travel bans and social distancing requirements, the Strip is barely active. Vegas continues to see a drop in the number of visitors as the world continues to battle the virus. Not only have there been fewer players visiting venues, but operating costs have increased. Intense cleaning, rearranging casino floors, and money spent to ensure social distancing have all eaten into what revenue has been generated.
With a fear of contracting the virus, many gamblers have made the decision to stay home, even if their local venues are open for business. This is bad news for areas that rely on the profits earned by casinos. It also means the increased loss of jobs, with 96% of the US gaming workforce has already lost their positions.
Online Betting Surges
While people are not visiting their local casinos, they are still engaging in gambling activities. However, these are being done online. The online gaming industry has seen a great amount of growth during the pandemic. Since players are not able to go and play in person, they rely on the games that are provided online and still have some great chances at winning while enjoying classic casino games from home.
Online casinos that were already established continue to attract new players as the pandemic continues. How long this will last remains unknown, but for now, online gambling is booming. Seeing this, some land venues have turned their attention to the development of online platforms. With players staying home, companies are trying to retain loyal players by offering online games that can be played, just like those in a land casino.
There has been great expansion of this industry, especially in the United States. In the past year, many states have passed laws to allow legal online betting. Some states restrict this to sports wagering while others are offering full operating online casinos. Land casinos that have an active online platform are weathering the storm, but this will not ensure these companies will stay afloat. There is a high risk of casinos losing almost all revenue and being forced to sell to larger companies or remain closed forever.
The Future of Land Casinos
Some locations have allowed land casinos to resume operating as long as they meet requirements for social distancing and capacity. While this is allowing these companies to start earning revenue from players, it is quite limited. Taking into consideration the cost to maintain regulations, casinos worldwide continue to suffer.
Not only are there fewer players visiting venues, but players have less money to spend. The unemployment rate worldwide has shot up due to the pandemic, reducing the amount of money players have to gamble with. The lower income levels, increased travel bans, and government restrictions continue to place obstacles in the way of land casinos.
Since online casinos continue to be an appealing option, the worry is whether players will return to land-based locations when they are able to do so. Online casinos may very well take a large portion of regular gamblers from brick and mortar venues. With the world going digital and the many restrictions in place, online casinos continue to benefit from those staying at home and playing casino games on a PC or mobile device.
What does this all mean to land casinos? That is yet to be determined. Things change daily and as the world deals with issues surrounding COVID-19, new restrictions are lifted and put in place daily. It is too soon to say whether land casinos will make it through this, but you can expect most of the major casinos in the world to offer an online platform where you can enjoy the perk of being a member and still play your favorite games.
It is possible that some of the popular land casinos in major cities like Vegas and Atlantic City may be forced to shut down due to financial stress. Some of these may be able to run hotels and resorts to keep the business alive. It is more likely that the owners of land casinos like Caesars and Harrah’s will continue to focus on an online presence to maintain business operations and continue to provide gaming services to players.