Coronavirus: Gamblers look to online betting alternative
The coronavirus pandemic has taken a significant toll on the sports industry. Most pro sports have delayed their seasons and tournaments for the foreseeable future. Having seen the repercussions that the coronavirus has had on industries like sports, it's no surprise that the impact will also be felt within the gambling industry.
However, this development has led to a domino effect as while sports betting is taking a massive hit, online gambling is on an upward trajectory. The reason is simple: Across the country, large gatherings and congregations of people have officially been banned, with Canadians advised to practice social distancing to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With casinos shutting down and people forced to stay home, online gambling is now the perfect alternative for people who are cooped up inside all day.
Online casinos offer players the advantage of playing in the comfort of their homes without having to interact with others. There are also benefits like the casino bonus that online casinos offer. With the current situation, online betting is now the most preferred option among players, and in a way, this could help to cushion the blow on the industry. The online gambling market was estimated to be $46 billion in 2018 and is already worth over $13 billion in Canada.
Moreover, with the rise in the number of online casinos accepting Canadian residents and the presence of popular software providers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, Playtech, and Realtime Gaming (RTG), as well as the global pandemic restricting people to their homes, this number could soon potentially rise even higher. In fact, online casino operators are already experiencing a significant spike in volume and revenue in the past few weeks. For example, FOX Bet has even said that its online casino and poker operations have doubled the rate of visitors and players, with new customers signing up every day in the last week.
And that’s not to mention the fact that, while it is less visible to the outside world, e-sports and virtual sports betting has become a robust market, especially with millennials. This is because, while sports betting has long been associated with competitions such as the horse track, e-sports tournaments such as League of Legends and Counter-Strike have risen to claim a place in the sports book.
And with over $5.5 billion already wagered on major game titles in 2016, the entire e-sports market is expected to increase, with a growth estimate of more than $16 billion in annual wagers in coming years. This figure does not take into account COVID-19’s impact on the current industry as well as the introduction of new competitions such as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Amazon’s Breakaway, and the Overwatch League, which are also set to further drive growth and increase interest in the e-sports betting market, making it more technologically advanced and bigger than ever before.
However, the rise of online gambling goes far beyond just the convenience of playing at home or the coronavirus epidemic as there are other advantages and reasons why online gambling is now preferred by many. For one, a major perk is the ease of access, as being able to place bets on your laptop, tablet, or phone has now made it so easy to play casino online. There are also now downloadable casino apps that make navigation easier.
Another benefit of online play is the presence of variety, as it’s never been so easy to jump from one game to another. For example, if you’re getting bored of the traditional blackjack and poker games, these now come in many options. Live dealer games are also great alternatives if you miss the thrill of playing in front of a dealer. Plus, some online casinos even allow you to chat with other players, adding a social element.
Other advantages include reduced betting limits, promos and bonuses, and a wide variety of payment options that even include cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ripple as added alternatives for those feeling hesitant to share their bank details online.
Right now, online gambling seems to be the only alternative available to Canadian residents, with the status of the coronavirus pandemic said to be at a crucial point this week in tracking whether or not the restrictions imposed by the government are having an effect at curbing the virus’s progression. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland stated that despite offers by Cuban health brigades to come and help curb the spread, she believes the government has enough medical resources to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic without the need for international help. And considering the fact that the response in Canada to the outbreak has been far more effective, prompt, and efficient than that of its neighbour, the United States, it stands to reason why the Canadian government feels that it has the situation under control.
This is also due to the fact that Canadians have responded positively to the guidelines imposed by the government, with 86 percent of Canadians stating that they advised their friends and family to practice social distancing, a much higher statistic compared to 72 percent in the United States. As Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said, “Everything depends on the choices that people have made and continue to make.”