Coronavirus and Online Gambling in 2020
The world is currently in the grip of the worst pandemic since HIV first peaked in the mid-1980s. The Coronavirus – COVID-19 – has infected over 120,000 people all across the world, and over 4,000 people have died from the infection. There is currently no known cure, although a vaccine that will prevent someone from becoming infected by the virus is in development.
Governments around the globe are working hard to contain the virus before it gets out of hand and infects everyone with potentially devastating effects. Italy is in lockdown with all citizens being told to stay in their homes, while countless public events are being postponed or cancelled in the hope of stemming the spread.
It’s something the world has seldom seen before, and something that has never been seen in the modern, technological age. It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The number of reported cases in China, where COVID-19 originated, is already beginning to fall.
How the world, while coping with the coronavirus, is an unknown quantity?
It seems extremely likely that the world will get back on its feet eventually, but the effects of this pandemic have to be considered beyond the physical consequences to people. Already markets across the globe have fallen, and people are being told to self-isolate leading to a shortage of services, and businesses grinding to a halt because they don’t have enough available employees. The world will recover, but how long will it take for the world to recover from the problems the coronavirus has created?
The online gambling industry is one business sector that is key to the economy of several companies around the world. Not only does taxation add funds to a government’s treasury department, but the sector also keeps hundreds of thousands of people in employment. So, how is the coronavirus likely to hit the online gambling industry?
There are two potential answers. The first is significantly, and the second is we just down know.
How can there be two answers? The answer to that is because the modern, internet-enabled world has never encountered anything like this before.
Let’s take the ‘significantly’ option first. Some of the biggest real-world operators in the world are already announcing a downturn in profits. Wynn Resorts, which is a company operating two Macau properties, has already announced that it is losing $2.6 million a day. It has also lost 5% of its value via its share price. The number of visitors to Macau has dropped by 80%, and analysts suggest that revenue from Macau could drop by as much as 95%.
Will the losses at real-world casinos be felt at online casinos too?
So, will the losses experienced by Macau be reflected upon the online gambling realm? The truth is … it’s tough to tell.
The problems are that there are so many unknown factors. Casino sites are different from real-world casinos as you do not have to be physically present to play. There is absolutely no danger of catching the COVID-19 virus if you log on at an online casino and play a few spins of your favourite pokies.
As more and more people self-isolate or are asked to self-isolate, they will need activities that will keep them occupied, especially if they have employment roles that mean home-working is not an option. This could mean that the number of people and the amount of time spent at online casinos could actually rise.
On the other hand, if people are not working, then they may not be earning unless employers have agreed to cover their salaries while they self-isolate. This means that they will have less money to spend, and will therefore have less disposable income via which they can gamble.
There are many factors to consider, and it’s hard to find a clear picture.
The other factor to consider is that a company with employees facilitates online gambling, and if employees are self-isolated, then many services may not be available.
One sector that may be significantly affected by the coronavirus is sports betting. Already, top-flight football in Italy has been suspended, and the recent EPL fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal was postponed. There is talk of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo being postponed or cancelled too. A lack of sporting markets will, of course, hit the sports-betting industry hard.
While most observers appear uncertain over the impact the coronavirus is likely to have on the online gambling realm; one commentator has announced that he expects there to be a significant impact.
That commentator is Playtech CEO Alan Jackson, who said recently “in the last two weeks it has started to see a material impact from changes in normal customer patterns due to COVID-19 which is significantly affecting two of its largest markets. Accordingly, results for 2020 are likely to be below existing market expectations”.
Just to put your mind at rest …
No matter what you might hear in the press, your individual chances of catching the coronavirus are still meagre indeed. The number of cases reported by the middle of March 2020 is 120,000, which is out of the world’s population of 7.6 billion. That means that only 1 in around 63,000 people has caught the virus.
The virus itself is not fatal, and its effects last two weeks. If you do catch the virus, then there is only a 1 in 30 chance that it will prove fatal, and then only if you are old and your body is too weak to fight off the infection, or you already have a respiratory-related illness.
The put this into perspective, around four million people each year catch influenza, and around 650,000 die from the infection. You are much more likely to catch flu than COVID-19, and that fact is unlikely to change, especially as multiple governments around the world are taking firm steps to quell the outbreak.
Remember, if you are still concerned about the coronavirus, then you can take steps to help prevent its spread, such as washing your hands carefully at least six times a day. To preserve your health, you should be doing this anyway, as your physical wellbeing is not something you should ever gamble with!
Coronavirus Precaution Tips
13 Mar. 2020, by Ari Waknine