The casino and gaming industry used to be a model of consistent growth. In recent years, however, it’s faced many challenges, particularly due to gathering restrictions and costly safety protocols caused by the pandemic. As a result, revenue dropped considerably in 2020.
The industry seems to be on the upswing, however. Gambling companies have started to invest strongly in online gaming sites, mobile apps, and in some instances, cryptocurrency. And while many of these changes are seen as indicators of a quick recovery by experts, it has also left many players confused regarding the rules of this new gaming landscape. As a consequence, many players are asking the same question: Is online gaming the future of gambling?
Online Gaming Before the Pandemic
In the early 2000s poker was prominently featured in movies, and televised tournaments, making the game immensely popular. Different websites explaining the rules of the game, or providing tips to win at poker, started to emerge. Players used these resources to learn about skills like folding on every bad hand, or setting their own betting limits beforehand.
As a result of the 2000s poker boom, online betting became much more accessible. Many gambling sites started to appear, allowing players to choose from different alternatives and giving players multiple advantages. Beginners could start playing for free, choose between different tables, and access bonuses like additional funds just for signing up.
The Challenges Imposed by Covid
At the beginning of the pandemic, lockdowns hit the casino industry hard. People were afraid to leave their houses, and those willing to sit at a table had to face strict capacity limits. Casinos also had to deal with new safety protocols, which increased their operating costs. By 2020, restrictions had led to a 31% drop in revenue for casinos everywhere.
The Shift to Online
Lockdowns forced people to enjoy their free time. Casinos understood this and immediately started to partner with gaming studios for the development of online gambling platforms.
Legislators also realized the importance of aiding this industry. New York and Michigan recently passed laws legalizing online sports betting. States like Florida and California, meanwhile, are also in the process of regulating online gambling.
In addition, many gambling companies have started to invest in blockchain technology, opening cryptocurrency gambling sites and NFT based virtual economies. The legality of some of these operations is, to say the least, unclear, but it certainly marks a greater shift towards online gaming.
Will Online Gaming Still Be Profitable Next Year?
The progressive relaxation of gathering and travel restrictions, as well as the passing of laws legalizing betting in different states, make the future look more favorable for the casino and gaming industry. Betting, in general, is projected to grow by 6% on an annual basis, with a compound annual growth rate of 10% in the case of online gambling.
Experts also predict that players will have more opportunities to use alternative paying methods like digital wallets and cryptocurrency. Complementary to this, the number of online gambling apps is expected to explode, together with the implementation of new technology like using A.I. in fantasy sports.
The pandemic may have landed some hard blows on the casino and gaming industry, but thanks to new technologies companies were quickly able to adapt. With the emergence of new gaming platforms and payment technologies, gambling is certainly becoming more accessible than ever. Having said that, however, only time will tell whether gaming online will ever really replace the thrill of sitting at a table.