The pandemic of Covid-19 has been changing our lives for more than a year now. It changed the way we interact with our loved ones, the way we work, and now maybe changing the way we gamble. Land-based casinos have been closed for the better half of 2020 due to the lockdown rules in many countries, and dedicated gamblers flocked to online platforms.
But will this trend continue in the years to come? Will making a trip to a local casino become a thing of the past? Let’s see whether that’s true.
Land-based Casino Market Overview
Land-based casinos are currently bringing in a lot more profit than their online counterparts. However, that is mostly due to century-old trends that are manifesting. The growth metrics show quite a different picture, especially in the Asia Pacific region, where online pokies for Australian players are immensely popular.
In previous years, the casino industry was showing huge growth numbers at approximately 10% per year. Nowadays, the most optimistic forecasts show that it’s going to be growing at 7%, while others put this figure at 5% or even 2%.
Despite the rather pessimistic forecasts, the land-based casino industry is still not yet have reached stagnation. This is mainly because players who are willing to spend tens of thousands of dollars per night will never change the luxurious casinos for a simple online platform.
However, this is not the case for regular players, of which there are millions. Here’s how online casinos reacted to the changes of the last couple of years.
Online Casino Market Overview
Online gambling was developing rather fast, even before the pandemic. In 2019, it had grown to a market cap of $53 billion and was growing at 11% per year — more than any other gambling sector. The market cap is expected to reach $66 billion the next year, with the annual growth rate not showing any signs of stopping.
In fact, this report suggests that in Australia, there was a 67% increase in online gambling since the first lockdown was imposed. The growth of business relations and the number of games available also don’t show sights of stopping. In 2020, there were just as many new pokies and casino games developed as in the previous years.
This reflects a global trend that has been going on since the beginning of the pandemic. Industries that could be taken online are seeing the same sort of growth. For instance, the video chat software industry saw great growth in 2020 as millions of people left offices for online workspaces. The same goes for video streaming services like Netflix that saw a huge influx of users as of 2020. But unlike with video chat services that will probably lose subscribers as people slowly go back into office spaces, online gambling may be there to stay.
What the Future Holds of Online Gambling
A close look upon trends shows a clear picture: regular casino gambling stops growing as fast even though it’s not stagnating just yet, while online gambling is growing at an even bigger rate than before the pandemic. However, it may be just a temporary trend.
When the pandemic is over, and there is no more lockdowns insight, the gamblers may return to the regular casino establishments as soon as casinos are open. This is probably true to some extent, as there are plenty of gamblers who would prefer the casino hall to online pokies every day, but it’s not all there is to it.
The best thing this situation brings to the online gambling industry is not the fact that many gamblers are choosing to play online for a limited amount of time during the lockdown. The most important thing is that millions of gamblers were exposed to online casinos.
The thing is, the average age of a gambler is around 45 in most countries, and in many respects, this age bracket may be turned off by online gambling simply because they’re used to gambling in a casino.
This unique opportunity that forced them to try online casinos may be the catalyst this industry lacked to grow even faster. These gamblers may realize that instead of spending an excessive amount of time and money to make a trip to the nearest casino, they can just play online in the comfort of their home.
It’s soon to be said exactly what’s going to happen with both industries, but since the online gambling industry had a much bigger annual growth rate even before the pandemic struck, the odds are in its favor.