Gambling has evolved so much since it began, and the beginning of online casino gaming in the 90s has surely changed how people gamble for good. Over the last decade, online casinos have started to become more popular and today, the online sector of the global gambling market alone is worth billions of dollars. Last year, it was already valued at over 70 billion US dollars.
However, it’s no secret how the COVID-19 pandemic has somehow done the gambling industry a favour. Since lockdowns and strict health protocols were implemented starting March of last year all over the world, many online casinos reported an increase in web traffic. This made a lot of sense as people were required to stay at home to contain the spread of the virus.
How the Pandemic Boosted the Online Gambling Sector
As lockdowns were implemented, many tried to find new activities to do indoors. Many resorted to online gaming, including playing real money games. However, it’s not all great for all sectors in the gambling industry. Due to lockdowns, land casinos had to halt their operations. Many major sports events also had to be cancelled, either postponed, or rescheduled, and this made the sports betting scene dull for a few months.
People who would also usually participate in The Hundred Cricket betting or betting on other major sports events like the English Premier League, the NBA, the IPL, and many more had nothing to wager on for a while and some of them resorted to betting online casinos instead.
Boredom and possibly depression and anxiety have also led a lot of people to try to entertain themselves through gaming but of course, online gambling offers the kind of emotional rush that many online activities can’t offer. With this, it’s understandable why many local governments started to take a look at the risks of online gambling.
The United Kingdom which has one of the biggest online gambling markets took steps to somehow control the growing risks of increased online gambling in the country amidst a pandemic. Stricter protocols were implemented by the UKGC and it was also last year when credit cards were banned from being used on any gambling transaction. Quickspin and Autoplay options for online slots are also already banned in the country.
This just shows how much problem gambling is becoming a concern for a country that has most forms of gambling legal. And now that online gambling in the UK is more prominent, online protocols are becoming stricter than ever. Despite this, however, online casinos remain popular with the locals.
What Will Happen Once the Pandemic Is Over?
It is established that the pandemic has boosted the growth of the online gambling sector. Even if online sports betting suffered a while last year, it was able to quickly recover once sports events went back thanks to online betting.
Online sports betting is likely to be more popular in the coming years. More and more states in the US are starting to push the legislation of local sports betting operations within their territories. Before the pandemic, most of the states that are now pushing for regulating sports betting are taking their time to do so.
Since the pandemic has greatly affected many states in the US, many of them are now pushing harder to have legal sports betting for tax revenues. A great example is how the state of New York is now pushing for mobile or online betting.
New York has legal sports betting since 2019, but it is only limited to in-person betting. Since then, Governor Andrew Cuomo showed no interest in expanding to online betting. However, the table seems to have turned when New York was greatly hit by the virus. When 2021 came in, Governor Cuomo then expressed how online betting could be available in the state soon.
Not only New York but also other states and even countries are now trying to recover from the effects of the health crisis and many of the governments are just now trying to find more ways to earn revenue and recover from the losses they had.
Canada is already pushing for the legislation of sports betting in the country and more countries will likely follow suit. With that said, the online gambling industry is still set for a brighter future post-pandemic.
Well, even before the pandemic started, the online gambling sector is projected to continue to grow anyway at least until 2027. People can just expect that online gambling will become less taboo as years go by and will be widely accepted in more countries by then.