According to a report published by Aruvian Research, it is estimated that over 51% of the global population engage in some form of gambling. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many gambling venues to close, online gambling has continued to thrive. This spiking demand in online gambling is largely pegged to the dramatic increase in screen time, with most previous brick-and-mortar gamblers shifting focus to online platforms. Along with that, this increased screen time has also exposed potential players to heavily marketed gambling services, with most online casino operators offering online casino games with free bonus & no deposit.
In this article, we are going to look at how the prevailing pandemic has positively and negatively affected online gambling.
But before we drill down into the minute details, let’s take a broad-brush look at the growth of online gambling.
The Growth of Online Gambling
As indicated above, the COVID-19 pandemic has favorably impacted the online gambling market, despite the decline in sports betting due to the ban of different sports and leagues. In a bid to curb the spread of the virus, governments across the world have imposed stringent movement restrictions and strict social distancing measures. This, in turn, has compelled numerous players to shift their gambling practices to online gambling platforms.
True to this, a report published by PR Newswire projects that global online gambling will grow from $64.13 billion to $72.02 billion between 2020 and 2021, loosely translating to a CAGR of 12.3%.
The same report indicates that this growth will largely be driven by companies resuming normal operations as more and more people get vaccinated, as well as adapting to the new normal way of living.
Positive Impacts of the Pandemic on Online Gambling
Although it may seem otherwise, online gambling has had a positive impact during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. They include;
Ease of Access & Safety
One of the most prominent impacts of online gambling during the pandemic is the fact that it has allowed players to easily access their favorite games in a safe environment. With stringent lockdowns measures and social distancing measures in place due to the pandemic, most physical casinos have had to limit their holding capacity or just outright close down.
And since players can access online casinos via a PC or smartphone, the need to visit a physical casino and potentially exposing themselves to risks is eliminated. And even with lockdowns and social distancing limits in place notwithstanding, online casinos give players ease of accessibility.
Improved Gambling Atmosphere
Traditionally, online gambling has always treated live dealer games as an afterthought. The freedom to talk and interact with a dealer at a table is what has always made the traditional casinos a big hit among punters, and it has always been a pain in certain anatomy parts of online gambling.
Fortunately, this trend has started to slowly change during the lockdown, with more and more online casinos embracing live dealer games. Along with that, online casino operators have also started incorporating a bit more entertainment and fanfare around playing and winning online games.
This way, punters are able to create a more organic connection with these online gambling platforms and form long-term relationships. Toss in the ease of access mentioned above into the equation, and you can start to see why online gambling is becoming a more attractive option to beginners and experienced gamblers alike.
Engaging Younger Demographics
A few years back, you would have been hard-pressed to find the relatively younger generation engaging in online gambling or otherwise. Amid the pandemic, online casinos have engaged in heavy marketing, which seems to resonate with the younger audience looking to make an extra income. This goes against the gambling trend of targeting the 45+ age group, which is what traditional casinos have been doing for many years.
This tactic has been especially effective, largely due to the fact most young people are spending more time online due to lockdowns, plus they have more disposable income to spend. For this reason, they’re more able to embrace online gambling than previously thought.
Better Reputation, Bonuses, and Loyalty Programs
The fact that online casinos are digital, makes it easier for them to gamify the entire gambling experience and create generous bonuses and loyalty programs. This ranges from welcome bonuses for new players, and extra chips, bonus cash, and return on losses for the loyal members. In fact, some of the reputable casino operators even have personal account managers to cater to the high-rollers and loyal customers to ensure they enjoy the best online gambling experience. Whether you are playing real money games or wager on CSGO roulette skins, the online gambling industry has a bonus for everyone.
Likewise, online casinos have had a somewhat immoral reputation for many years. However, the knock-off effect of the ongoing pandemic has re-routed most online casinos back to the proverbial “ Road To Damascus” in terms of giving back to the players.
Along with that, online casinos are also beginning to take gambling addiction seriously by imposing betting limits, launching campaigns against excessive gambling, and adhering to laws meant to curb gambling addiction.
Better Payment Options
If you’re into online financial markets, you’ve probably come across the phrase ‘Cryptocurrency’. This relatively new payment method is a great alternative to traditional fiat currencies that have been a staple in online casinos. The secure and anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies allows players to enjoy their favorite online casino games without having to worry about their credit or debit card information being stolen.
Another big advantage of digital currencies for players is the faster transaction turnaround time. Unlike the traditional banking methods that can take days, digital currencies allow you to make deposits and payouts almost instantaneously. And with most players increasingly becoming sensitive about the processing speed, more and more online casinos are embracing digital currencies amid the pandemic.
Negative Effects of Online Gambling During The Pandemic
Whilst online gambling has had its positive impact amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it also has its fair share of negative effects. For instance, the easy accessibility of these platforms and their respective products and services through various devices has seen a spike in substance use and gambling addiction. People who regularly gamble online continue to do it more frequently during the pandemic, which has led to anxiety and disorders.
There’s no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent quarantine measures threw our world off balance. And online gambling is not an exception. With that said, however, online gambling amid the pandemic has yielded positive results including reduced cases of infection by providing a safe gambling environment, accelerating the adoption of new banking methods, and introducing new demographics into the adventure of online gambling. On the other hand, online gambling has also contributed to vices such as gambling addiction and substance abuse, which can negatively affect our society in the long-term.
As an online gambler, the key to avoiding these vices lies in choosing the right gambling platform, knowing when to stop, and only betting the amount you are willing to lose. This way, you shouldn’t have a problem riding the wave that is online gambling during the pandemic.
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