As the coronavirus pandemic unfurled, it became increasingly clear that a large-scale move to the internet was underway in all sorts of walks of life. From leisure and pleasure to work and jobs, migration to the web happened at lightning-fast speed wherever it possibly could.
Casino gaming was no exception. With in-person gambling venues around the world shut down with just a moment or so’s notice, gamblers were forced to turn to live casinos available online. However, what’s been interesting is the sticking power of this move. Now, many online casinos are persisting in popularity, and it looks like there could be a permanent shift towards this mode of gaming. This blog post will look more closely at this phenomenon and explore what it might mean for the sector.
Moves by firms
First off, it’s important to think about the choices being made by the big companies in the gambling sphere. In a way, their increasing shift towards online operations predates the pandemic. Around the turn of the decade, for example, the in-person casino sector was making big strides towards picking up smaller, online firms and amalgamating them through acquisitions. In the UK, for example, William Hill bought the online casino and sports betting hub Mr Green as part of a push to have more online content available.
William Hill itself was then later acquired by the huge casino company Caesars Entertainment – suggesting that Caesars could see what was coming in terms of a shift to online and wanted to future-proof its business model by acquiring companies which were themselves becoming increasingly online-centric.
Relationships between supply and demand are symbiotic. The actions of firms are related to the actions of consumers, and vice versa. This is borne out in the consumer demand numbers as well – with rises recorded around the same time as the above acquisitions. Statistics show that the last year or two have seen a rise in demand for online gambling services. According to one set of figures, the online gambling sector is growing by over 10% each year – and it’s expected to do so until 2024, meaning that its best and boldest days as a sector may well be ahead of it.
It’s not just in percentage terms that the sector is doing well. In fact, turnover levels for the sector as a whole are believed to have rested at $53bn USD in recent years. In part, this demand has been fueled by a massive increase in supply. More and more operators are realizing that setting up an online casino is a relatively simple business thanks to the plethora of off the shelf game providers and designers available, and as a result, there are lots of options for gamers to choose from.
What’s coming ahead
Whether or not the trend will continue, however, is another matter. The early signs are positive for online casinos. After all, they do provide certain advantages. Only the very largest of in-person casinos can provide the same level of choice as a live version. Smaller casinos can’t always offer the same range. If you want to play blackjack at your local roulette-heavy casino, you may not be in luck. Live casinos also allow gamers to indulge their passion in a completely private context. There’s no need to leave the safety of a living room to play casino games online on trustworthy sites such as: https://www.onlinecasinolistings.com/live-casinos/, which means there’s a great deal less overhead associated with having a huge selection of games.
One question mark over the future of live casino gaming lies in questions of the law. In some jurisdictions, online gambling is technically not allowed. However, the popularity of online gambling is reflected in the fact that campaigning groups and gambling-friendly legislators across the US are fighting for people to be allowed to have access to the games they want to play. In time, it’s quite possible that live casinos will leapfrog real-life ones when it comes to both legal and social acceptance.
In short, online gambling at live casinos is quickly proving to have staying power that both precedes and is outlasting the coronavirus pandemic. Big gambling companies are snapping up online firms in order to increase their web-based output, while consumer demand is clearly holding firm. What remains to be seen is whether or not legal and regulatory frameworks will catch up with this increasing demand. Over time, it’s likely that there’ll be no other way.