Coronavirus: Online betting becomes entertainment alternative

With the growing coronavirus pandemic that is currently spreading across the world, most people (including gamblers) are now shut inside their homes with little to do and more free time on their hands than they would like. There’s no telling how long this will last or the growing impact it will have on the global economy. And that goes for sports booksand casinos as well. What all this now means for gamblers worldwide, is that they are forced to switch to internet casinos as an alternative solution.

At the moment, with the suspension of all major sports events, that specific gambling market has dried up virtually overnight with most major professional and college sports either being cancelled or postponed indefinitely because of the covid-19 virus. Examples of such sports events include the Indy 500, NASCAR & Formula 1; the NBA, NHL, and the MLB seasons. Not to mention, elite soccer competitions such as the English Premier League, the Spanish la Liga, the German Bundesliga, and the Champions League, even the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and many more. All of these are extremely massive events for bookmakers. However, the silver lining in all this, is that it now seems to be the time for virtual and fantasy sports to shine.

For instance, a while ago, brick and mortar casinos were the real deal in Canada. However, in recent years Canadians have since shifted their focus away from these land-based casinos and are now choosing to play in the best online casinos in Canada instead, as online betting begins to step out from the shadow of the traditional sports betting. In fact, the Canadian gambling statistics have in recent times shown that the rate of online casino growth has improved with the income generated from online gambling, bringing in billions of dollars yearly. According to a report by the “Canadian Gaming Association,” today the overall gaming industry in Canada is worth over $14 billion in size, as measured by annual revenue with an electronic gaming device (such as VLTs) accounting for almost 22 per cent of this total.
Now, with this global pandemic locking everyone in their homes, the online gambling industry is already showing signs of further growth, with providers actually stating that they’ve already startedseeing a significant spike in volume and revenue. In fact, some of the notable Canadian gambling software providers such as the “NetEnt & Playtech,” which developed games for these casino sites, have already recently began reporting a steady rise in online betting games.

However, even though virtual sports betting is now on the rise over traditional sports betting, it’s important to point out that while the outbreak may be in its favour, that sector hasn’t reached its full potential yet. And on the other side of the online spectrum, esports has become a major innovative leader, drawing the attention of millions of millennials. Not to mention, compared to traditional sports, esports thrive in their natural online habitat, meaning that all of this has now led to gambling companies heavily promoting online e-sports competitions, computer-generated “Virtualsports,” and of course, online casino games like blackjack, roulette, slot games, table games such as poker, etc.

As a result, it’s easy to see a growing surge in mobile and online gaming for sports and casino in the coming weeks and months. In fact, at this current rate, online gambling sites now stand to gain millions and with this added boost, it is expected that the casino industry in the country will compete favourably with other countries in no distant time. The only main drawback with all of this is that while the coronavirus has managed to clear the streets, online traffic has now soared to such an extent that people have started to express their growing concerns that internet connections around the world will be unable to handle the stress.

Something else worth noting is that gambling companies and executives do not seem to be at ease with the current situation in the least. For example, Hard Rock President Joe Lupo; recently stated that he isn't expecting online revenue to begin to make up for lost in-person revenue. "This is not like a snowstorm that will end in 48 hours," he said. "This is so unprecedented, and the timetable is simply unknown as to when employment and the economy rebounds.”

As of now, the virus has caused more than 23,000 worldwide deaths, and as of now, there is no clear idea of when these sporting leagues and events will return. How this affects the gaming industry as a whole in the coming months should the situation not dissipate, remains to be seen.

The one thing that is very clearly apparent, is that for the time being, as a huge proportion of offline gamblers shift online due to the lockdown, players interested in a 24/7 gambling experience will find online opportunities to be the only available option -- at least, until land-based casinos and major sporting events have been given a green light to resume their activities.

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