The global pandemic has had a significant impact on many industries worldwide. While some experienced negative changes, the online gambling industry might be benefiting.
This article is by our author Daniel Bennet, who has a passion for iGaming and is an expert in the gambling industry.
It’s likely that many popular online casinos in Canada, such as the casino Jackpot City, have seen a lot more activity due to emergency restrictions. But how was the industry at large affected?
In this article, we look at how the future of gambling and online gambling platforms have been affected by the events of 2020.
Online Gambling Industry in General
Many different industries are facing challenges due to COVID-19 and related emergency measures. However, the online gambling industry seems to be benefiting from the restrictions.
In fact, it’s expected for the industry to experience a CAGR of 11.64%, leading up to 2023. Some of that growth could be attributed to COVID-19. With so many people in lockdown, online gambling platforms have seen an increasing number of punters flocking to the internet. It’s a way to enjoy gambling and be entertained at the same time.
Not all internet gambling activities have had the same positive experience, however. While casino games like slots, bingo, poker, and roulette are seeing increased activity, sports betting is pulling on the short end of the rope.
The Impact on Sports Betting Markets
Many live sports have been suspended indefinitely, and many seasons are delayed until 2021. For example, the NHL has entirely delayed their regular season, and will only resume next year. The Canadian Hockey League followed suit, suspending play for all three regional leagues.
Hockey wasn’t the only sport to take a hit. Soccer, baseball, football, and golf have all seen disruptions. FIFA even announced that qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup would be delayed.
Some sports have resumed. Formula 1, some horse racing events, football, and UFC matches have been scheduled to resume. Even so, they must obey strict safety regulations. With so many betting markets no longer available, many punters have turned to virtual and esports betting and regular casino games.
The Rise of Virtual and Esports
Regular sports betting has seen a decline in activity, but the same can’t be said about virtual and esports events. With more virtual events, these betting markets have grown significantly due to COVID. Many virtual sports and games have exceptional quality graphics, making it feel like you’re watching real events.
Interestingly, many famous sportspeople, players, and racers take part in these events. For example, the virtual F1 Grands Prix saw 1,000% month-on-month growth. Fans flocked to watch regular players and racers like Nico Rosberg and Charles LeClerc going head to head for virtual victory.
Virtual football, horse racing, and rugby have all seen increased virtual activity. Games like LOL, Overwatch, and CS:GO, amongst others, consistently draw large numbers of fans and bettors.
Online Casinos are Flourishing
According to statistics, Canadian gamblers tend to prefer land-based venues. However, with COVID and the events of 2020, the numbers have changed to favour online gambling platforms and the mobile gambling industry.
A study done in Ontario showed that 77% of gamblers preferred to go to brick-and-mortar casinos. However, after emergency measures were declared, 54% switched to internet casinos instead.
With the lack of sports betting markets, many punters are also turning to internet casinos to get their fix.
The advent of new technology is also luring many new players to play online slots and casino games or try out live casinos. VR allows players to visit these casinos in virtual reality and play games. There are also several other ways to improve your online gambling experience.
Unfortunately, the Ontario study also indicated a prevalence of high-risk gambling. Many gamblers are participating in betting activities while under the influence. Some gamble while anxious or depressed or to try and earn an income.
What the Future Holds
The Canadian online gambling industry has had to adapt to several changes over the past year. Online sports betting has seen a massive drop in activity due to cancelled events and a lack of live betting options. On the other hand, slots and online gambling platforms saw a significant increase in traffic and activity.
The question, however, is how it will change once the pandemic is over. Will sports betting rise in popularity again? Will these gambling platforms and the mobile gambling industry see less traffic?
It’s difficult to judge. There’s no way to predict consumer behaviour accurately. That said, changes in technology and gambling habits in 2020 may see a shift in how and where gamblers spend their time and money.
There’s no doubt that 2020 changed the face of both the offline and online gambling industries, whether these changes will be permanent remains to be seen.