The COVID-19 crisis proved to businesses in all industries: they can never be prepared enough for unexpected circumstances. No matter how strong the brand is, it can be hit by something unplanned and unpreventable. This severe pandemic caused difficulties in all businesses that depend on social situations. UK’s casinos were not spared. The lockdown kept all of them closed for a long period of time, so money was lost and jobs were sacrificed.
The gambling industry suffered on a global level. In Nevada, 27.9% of the workforce filed for unemployment by mid-May. Gamblers were also affected. They were deprived of their favorite pastime. For some of them, gambling is a profession. However, they discovered online opportunities, which led to a substantial growth in that sector.
The Negative Impact of COVID-19 to British Casinos
In the UK, Rank Group had to make the most severe decisions. As all its venues remained closed, the company had to rely on the government’s job retention scheme and temporarily let almost 90% of its employees go. That single example reflects the reality: the United Kingdom is one of the most heavily affected countries by this pandemic. With a decree, the government decided that all social venues should be closed for a lengthy period of time. That included not only casinos, but also bingo halls, bookmakers, cinemas, bars, restaurants, and other businesses.
The land-based casino industry in the UK brings in over £10 billion a year. British citizens love to gamble. In addition, tourists who travel to the UK regularly visit casinos. With the preventive measures that the Government had to introduce, every single gambling venue suffered grave consequences for its revenue. At the beginning, the quarantine was introduced for a period of 14 days. That was enough for companies to start letting employees go.
The Government finally announced the reopening of the casinos for August 15. Since then, venues have been functioning under a limited capacity. The industry suffered a big hit, and many of its leaders expressed regrets that the authorities took so long to allow for their staff to return to work. Casinos have strict anti-COVID measures in place, so they are much safer than bars and similar businesses.
Nevertheless, the social distancing standards affect the activities of gamblers. They enjoy land-based casinos because of the ability to socialize. Otherwise, they would use a £5 no deposit bonus and join an online casino to get the same experience. Gamblers find it challenging to distance themselves from everyone in the venue, wear a face covering at all times, and wait for the slot machines to be cleaned before they approach them.
That being said, it’s easy to understand that the industry hasn’t completely recovered after the reopening. The situation is not easy to predict, so another shut-down period may occur over the autumn and winter months.
On the Other Hand, the Online Gambling Industry Is Thriving
For those who enjoy gambling in fancy venues, an online casino is not an attractive option. Sure; it’s convenient when they can’t travel or they want to spend half an hour on poker before bed. But during the lockdown, online casinos became their only option. Even though venues are open at the moment, many casual gamblers are careful. They don’t want to expose themselves to the threat of the virus, so they still gamble from the comfort of their homes.
This situation made gambling sites more competitive than ever before. We saw many promotional mistakes, with websites luring gamblers with impressive bonuses only to impose ridiculous playthrough rules on them. But in general, most brands continued making good offers and servicing players without any trouble.
Many people, who tried online gambling for the first time, realized that it’s more affordable and more convenient. This was a chance for the industry to prove what it has been claiming for decades: the player gets the same chances to win, but at a lower expense.
What Will the Outcome Be?
Although the online casino industry welcomed players and provided a similar level of excitement for them, we can’t deny the fact that thousands of jobs were jeopardized due to the impact of COVID-19 on land-based casinos. At the moment, venues are open and working under limited capacity. However, the consequences of the lockdown are grave. It will take some time for the industry to recover.
We cannot predict a clear outcome, since the situation with the coronavirus outbreak is still not properly controlled.
About the author: Jeremy Raynolds made a promise to himself: he will live an exciting life. He enjoys new activities every day. Many would call him an adventurist, but Jeremy is just a man who makes his life fun. He loves writing about his experiences and inspiring people to live for a change.