Did online casino activity increase thanks to the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced industries to transfer to online work more than ever before. Companies that barely had a website before now are doing 100% of their sales online. The gambling industry is no different, with online casinos growing exponentially in popularity over the past year.
But how much has the industry actually grown since COVID-19 started? We know business overall has increased, but has the amount of websites? The amount of profits? What exact metric has increased within online gambling? We’re here to get to the bottom of this mystery.
20% increase in what?
During Sports Betting USA’s annual conference, the Director of H2 Gambling Capital David Henwood said 20% of all gambling activity in 2020 came from online websites. This was a rise from 13% in 2019. Granted, that seems like a small number as 80% of gambling activity is done elsewhere.
But that’s where you remember the amount of money spent on gambling in a year. By the end of 2020, $17 billion was spent on gambling activities worldwide. Considering 20% of $17 billion is just under $3.5 billion, that’s a huge jump for online gambling sites.
This doesn’t include the fact that in-person casinos took a harder revenue hit than any other division of gambling activities. In 2020, physical casinos saw a 39% drop in profits compared to 2019, versus online casinos who only saw a 7% drop. Now the drop isn’t surprising, as the pandemic made money tighter for many people. But the numbers speak for themselves: online casinos ruled the pandemic in terms of gambling.
More options to spend
As demand for online casinos increased in 2020, the options for players opened up. Suddenly, there were hundreds of sites dedicated to just slots, or that offered solely bitcoin payments. Some only allowed Spanish players to play, while others allowed nearly every country to visit.
Together with more gambling, also more gambling problems have occurred and more and more people try to opt-out from UK-based Gamstop. There are stronger alternatives to Gamstop which you can read about here.
Regardless of minor issues though, the choices players had for online gambling were never better. And as the rule of free market capitalism goes, competition means the consumer gets the best deal at the end.
Bonuses on bonuses on bonuses
With so many new websites popping up, online casinos had to figure out how to get players to come to their site versus their competitors. For online casinos, this meant pushing huge welcome bonuses to lure new players into signing up with their site. From free cash and spins, to matching your deposit, and even some offering a bet guarantee, the competition is fierce.
Of course, getting someone signed up for a casino is only half the fight. Websites then have to fight to keep players on their site as well. Similar to in-person casinos, online casinos will offer VIP/rewards programs that give players weekly rewards on their favorite games, to keep them invested in the site.
Where do we go from here?
Now that the pandemic is finally starting to dwindle down in some parts of the world, in-person casinos and other local gambling activities can resume full-time operation. But with the accessibility of online gambling, it’ll be interesting to see if anyone actually goes back to gambling in-person.
Why drive all the way to some place and risk getting sick when you can do the same gambling activities without ever changing out of your PJs? At the end of the day, only time will tell if online gambling will continue to see their profits soar after 2021 or not.