HOW COVID-19 AFFECTS THE CASINO INDUSTRY IN THE UK - Island Echo - 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight

Wednesday 1st April 2020

COVID-19, also commonly referred to as the novel coronavirus, has hit the Western hemisphere and is by all accounts, in full swing. There is not a country in the world that has not recorded a case of the coronavirus and governments all over the globe are taking measures to limit its spread.

Among the most heavily afflicted countries, the United Kingdom is looking to limit social interactions between people and keep them from meeting up and spreading the virus. To this end, the government has decreed that all social venues be closed for two weeks. This includes restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms, as well as, bookmakers, bingo halls, and casinos.

As you can imagine, closing all land-based gambling operations will not have a positive outcome for this industry. Gambling is a heavily developed sector in the country and the social distancing measures will certainly leave a dent in profits.

Land-based gambling in the United Kingdom is a major industry, bringing in more than £10 billion a year. Of that, land-based casinos account for just over £1 billion, while remote gambling totals about £2 billion.

With the introduced preventative measures, the revenue of all licensed casinos in the UK will surely decline. Furthermore, there is no telling how long the quarantine will be in place. Initially, it was supposed to last for 14 days but with the number of infected people on the rise, it could very well be extended for a longer period.

Naturally, the longer the social distancing measures are in place the more money the land-based sector will continue to lose.

While casino gambling will certainly see a decline in profits, other forms of gambling are suffering, as well. The two may not be directly linked but they do not exist in a vacuum. The sports betting scene is also bound to experience a downturn.

The Euro 2020 has been suspended as have numerous other sports events all over the globe. Currently, very few sports leagues are active and playing, leaving bettors with little in the way of betting options. Bookmakers are hardly happy with this present turn of events and the sports betting scene will also see a decline in profits.

Large betting companies often offer multiple forms of gambling and if they suffer losses in one sector, it could affect their whole package of services too. Moreover, gambling firms are also urged to impose betting caps of £50 a day, which further puts pressure on businesses.

Land-based casinos may be shut for the time being but online casinos are always available. If the lockdown measures continue for a longer period of time, we may experience a boom in online gambling. The remote gambling sector can still offer its full set of services, despite everything going on.

Online gambling websites are perfectly equipped to handle the situation and pick up the extra business, currently unavailable to land-based establishments. With thousands of online operators in the United Kingdom, it is not inconceivable to think that the remote gambling scene will thrive in the short term, at least for a few months.

There are plenty of options in the iGaming space for avid casino fans and with the industry expanding year in and year out, 2020 could be great for this sector. Still, more than half a million people have decided to ban themselves from betting online, so take all of this with a grain of salt.

The current situation is by no means great but it is the long term that matters and the effects it will leave on the industry. For now, COVID-19 may rage across Europe and North America but that will not last forever. Eventually, countries will prevail and things will be restored back to normal.

But in the wake of the virus, we will have to confront another challenge, with some arguing that it will be even scarier. Of course, this is the recession to follow.

International and domestic trade has decreased significantly. The cash flow of small to medium businesses is sure to suffer a significant hit. With low revenues will also come the termination of workers and the downsizing of firms. All of this has the right ingredients for a proper recession.

With people short on cash, it is not difficult to imagine that they will cut down on non-essential spending. The gambling industry falls directly into this category and it is expected that money will be lost in both the short and long term.

The scope of this economic downturn will depend solely on how long the COVID-19 pandemic lasts. If it only lasts for a few weeks, the situation might be tenable and things may return to normal after a few months. However, if it is not remedied soon, we could be looking at a years-long affair. How that could end can only be speculated.

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