Gambling Industry and Coronavirus in 2022: Trends, Health Maintenance
This year, the casino sector is expected to undergo further changes related to the spread of COVID-19.
In this article, Online Casino Market experts will tell you how a new strain of coronavirus, Omicron, can affect the development of the gambling market.
You can also find out about the trends that are emerging in the industry, ways to diversify commercial operations, and the most in-demand types of casino entertainment.
The pandemic has made serious adjustments to the work of the gambling industry, changing the approach to the organisation of casino games. Many operators and B2B providers faced a choice: to diversify their activities or suffer multimillion-dollar losses.
In 2020–2021, the market developed unevenly:
- The online segment grew by 12.3%, and by the end of 2021, the revenue reached 285.03 billion dollars. Analysts of the Research And Markets company predict that over the 2021 to 2025 period, the market volume will reach 448.5 billion dollars with a compound annual growth rate of 12%.
- The offline sector decreased by 8% and was estimated at 231 billion dollars by the end of the last year. In the US alone, the revenues of land-based casinos decreased by 13 billion dollars during the period of a strict lockdown in 2020. Before the pandemic, European gambling halls had more than 70 thousand employees and today, this figure has decreased to about 50 thousand specialists.
In 2022, due to the emergence of new strains of coronavirus, the previously emerging trends will remain the same. Due to quarantine restrictions, many gambling locations and bookmaker’s offices will be forced to temporarily stop working, and their customers will have to move to an online space.
Daria Nazarova, head of the RedTrack affiliate network, stated:
Today, gambling has its ups and downs at the same time. Thus, for example, online casinos remain one of the most profitable areas. During the pandemic, traffic volumes increased severalfold.
Bill Miller, CEO of the AGA (American Gambling Association), also commented on the current situation in the market:
We may say that 2020–2021 have been the worst years in the history of the land-based casino industry. In the US alone, more than 100 gambling locations have been closed due to COVID-19. Many specialists lost their jobs, and licensed operators lost their profits. This year should be more successful for the offline niche but we expect the industry to finally recover no earlier than in 2030.
To prop up the business and increase income during the pandemic, entrepreneurs should use new development strategies.
The most obvious decision would be to gradually move from the offline to the online sector.
Most Asian casinos have chosen this path by launching live platforms with popular entertainment, such as baccarat, roulette, and blackjack. Gaming studios are opened on the basis of land-based casino complexes. The companies are re-equipping the halls for live streaming and provide round-the-clock broadcasts in Full HD format.
Advantages of the changes that were made to the gambling niche:
- Customer retention. Clients did not go in search of new locations but stayed to play in their usual place — where they feel comfortable and safe.
- Minimum reduction of staff. Administrators, croupiers, dealers, and employees of the call centre kept hold of their jobs, and entrepreneurs did not have to part with valuable specialists.
- Cost optimisation. It is much easier to open a live studio based on a casino complex and more economical than to start from scratch.
With the spread of Omicron, experts predict that many owners of the land-based business will continue to move to an online space.
Key directions for the development in the betting sector:
Creation of cross-platform solutions
In 2020–2021, most bookmakers presented mobile applications using which players can place bets and also invested in the development and modernisation of their websites
Expansion of the catalogue of games
Due to the cancellation of many tournaments, operators began to accept bets on eSports events and launched simulations of football, basketball, hockey, and other team sports.
Moreover, bookmakers now offer bets on the results of elections, as well as political and economic events
Despite the active switching to the online niche, the offline sector occupies about 60% of the global gambling market, so there is no need to talk about the complete deadlock.
In 2022, due to new quarantine restrictions, operators have to ensure the complete safety of visitors and introduce clear social distance measures.
- Compliance with sanitary standards. This is the expansion of the area of the establishment, the installation of additional gambling tables and equipment for VIP rooms with a limited number of visitors. Special attention is paid to hygiene control and health condition checks of players (temperature screening). It is mandatory to wear protective masks and gloves and perform regular disinfection of premises. In many countries, the occupancy rate does not exceed 50–70%.
- Introduction of contactless technology. Innovative solutions help to reduce the number of employees and minimise the possibility of transmitting the virus from casino staff to the clients. Thus, in many gambling establishments, it was possible to make cashless payments using POS devices and self-service terminals.
The William Hill betting company presented an interesting case. During the pandemic, the British operator launched several live games. Moreover, in order to comply with security standards, the provider decided that all dealers should work remotely. The formation of sets of card and prize combinations in the live casino is based on a certified RNG. So all croupiers need to do is to comment on the outcome of the distribution of cards.
Richard Atkinson, the company’s manager, said:
The decision to switch to the online segment and report the results of games remotely is a new format for our brand. We plan to continue to adhere to the chosen strategy and improve our virtual products.
What is meant here is the protection against hacker attacks and improvement of the performance of online gaming sites. Platforms need to process about 10 thousand requests per hour, including the identification of clients, acceptance of money, and calculation of bonuses.
In 2022, the best choice for casino operators and owners of betting shops is to buy certified security software.
The product is created using modern IT solutions:
- Big Data. Mathematical algorithms for processing large amounts of information without the use of manual labour. The technology reveals hidden associations, behavioural preferences, abnormal activity on the website, and much more. Thanks to Big Data, it is possible to divide gamblers by age groups, interests, and sizes of the placed bets.
- Artificial intelligence. AI is the basis for the creation of chatbots both within a website or a mobile application and based on social messengers (Facebook, Telegram). A smart assistant completely replaces employees of call centres and also serves as an additional platform for playing casino games.
- Face ID, NFC, E-Singing. Such technologies as biometric face recognition, wireless data transmission, and electronic digital signature accelerate the identification of users, making the process more accurate. Thanks to this, the operation of online casinos is protected against unauthorised access by third parties and confidential information theft.
Let us consider casino entertainment which is extremely in-demand in 2022:
Games with live dealers give the feeling of a real presence in the gambling location. Providers offer round-the-clock HD broadcasts, shooting from different angles, a large selection of additional bets, and other offerings that can attract players.
The product range includes such games as baccarat, roulette, blackjack, Sic Bo, poker, and Dragon and Tiger. Many websites also offer lottery drawings, the wheel of fortune, and other solutions with instant results.
Licensed entrepreneurs equip gambling tables with automatic card reading systems. Users immediately see the combination that appeared on the screen, so the results of the rounds, even theoretically, cannot be fixed
Sports simulators are included in the product range of most online casinos and bookmaker’s offices. These are 3D models of team competitions in football, basketball, hockey, and volleyball.
Tennis, horse racing, and greyhound racing are the most popular individual sports.
Developers have perfectly recaptured the atmosphere of real competitions using the models of famous stadiums and prototypes of the world’s best athletes.
Gamblers, for example, can play for their favourite team at Old Trafford (Manchester United's home arena) or take part in horse racing at Royal Ascot
During the pandemic, bookmakers have expanded the eSports betting segment.
The organisation of eSports tournaments does not depend on quarantine restrictions caused by Omicron and other strains of coronavirus. All matches can be played online, which gives gamblers an exciting user experience and brings a stable income to bookmakers.
Business owners can earn money by sponsoring streamers and organising competitions and in-game advertising.
The most popular eSports games are Dota 2, League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, etc.
Casino operators and B2B representatives actively support the health system during the pandemic:
- Melco Crown Entertainment, a Hong Kong-based gambling company, launched the Simple Acts of Kindness program. Entrepreneurs provide humanitarian and financial assistance to social institutions in China.
- Scientific Games, an American developer, annually transfers more than 1.5 million dollars to charity. The money goes to medical institutions that are fighting the virus.
- Hillside (International Gaming) LP, a leading UK bookmaker, has donated 10 million pounds to the National Health Service.
- Steve Wynn, the American billionaire and owner of several casinos in the state of New York, transferred 50 million dollars to support local medicine. As a token of gratitude, the government has renamed Mohawk Valley Health central hospital as The Wynn Hospital.
- Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd, a Macau-based operator, transferred more than 20 million dollars to Hubei province where the COVID-19 outbreak was recorded. The money was spent on first-aid dressing for patients with coronavirus disease, purchasing medical equipment, and building hospitals.
In 2022, the mass switching of companies to the online space will continue due to the spread of new strains of COVID-19 and the introduction of quarantine restrictions.
- Among the successful business strategies, we can name the diversification of activities, enhancement of security of iGaming projects, and expansion of the range of games. Owners of land-based locations adhere to strict sanitary standards and use contactless technologies to protect casino visitors.
- Virtual sports, live content, and eSports betting are among the most in-demand sectors of gamblers. This choice is determined by instant results, high-quality visualisation, and dynamic gameplay.
- The gambling industry actively supports the health system during the pandemic. Developers make multimillion-dollar donations for medical needs and launch social projects to inform citizens about the risks of coronavirus.
We provide the following useful gambling services:
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