Despite efforts to entice more people back into brick-and-mortar casinos, the combination of challenges facing the sector has created mammoth problems for physical casino owners in Yorkshire and beyond. Footfall into casinos has decreased significantly in recent years and visitors who do make it through the front door are spending far less on average than they would have done a decade ago.
Below we will examine the challenges that are facing the in-person casino industry in 2023. Growing interest from customers in the online casino industry, decreased footfall in business quarters of town and city centres, and the lasting impact of coronavirus are all contributing to a web of challenges that brick-and-mortar casinos will have difficulty unravelling.
The rise of online casinos
High street and shopping centre casinos are facing huge competition from their online counterparts. Unlike in-person physical casinos, online casinos such as 32red offer unique welcome bonuses to first time players when they deposit cash. Online casinos are also in competition with each other, so these welcome bonuses can end up being quite high. This is an enticing proposition for players, and one which is difficult for land-based casinos to contend with.
Online casinos also tend to offer a wider variety of different games for customers to play, making online platforms more enjoyable for many. Because the internet provides an infinite platform, a limited physical space like a brick-and-mortar casino cannot possibly hope to compete.
The lasting effects of coronavirus
When Covid-19 emerged in the UK in 2020, no one could have predicted the chaos it would cause. One of the impacts of the pandemic’s lockdowns was that some physical businesses were required to close their doors in the interests of public health. Faced with not being able to visit buildings such as casinos and restaurants in person, many people were pushed into using online platforms. This change affected all manner of industries, including brick-and-mortar casinos that had to shut their doors for months on end.
Many people who had traditionally visited casinos in person had no other option but to try their luck on online casinos. Consequently, this is a habit that has stuck and despite lockdown rules being lifted, people have been reluctant to return. A new habit has been forged as a result of the pandemic and it’s difficult to see how this could ever be reversed.
The collapse of high street footfall
A combination of many factors, including advances in online shopping, reductions in spending money and increases in the number of physical businesses shutting down has led to a decrease in the number of people visiting high streets and shopping centres. Footfall in these business districts has dropped dramatically over the last decade, with no signs of future improvement.
Brick-and-mortar casinos have traditionally benefited from natural footfall or passing trade for a long time, but fewer people visiting these areas has meant fewer people stepping into casinos to place a bet. It’s a knock-on effect. As restaurants shut their doors, fewer people visit the area to enjoy a meal – meaning that there aren’t as many people who spontaneously visit the casino.
The effort to get more people back into business areas regularly is too big a task for casinos alone and would require cooperation from all organisations that rely on in-person traffic.
The growth of alternative entertainment options
A key challenge for traditional casinos is the development of alternative in-person and online entertainment options. While previous generations have prioritised buying goods over spending money on experiences, this isn’t true of new generations entering the 18+ market that casinos are targeting. As a result of this, there are many more entertainment options available for people than ever before.
From bottomless brunches in Harrogate to massive cinema complexes in Leeds, there are alternatives to casinos everywhere, offering people a good time socialising with others in exciting new environments. The rise of online socialising environments, such as social media and virtual reality platforms that provide people with innovative new ways to have fun with their friends, has also impacted the physical casino industry.
The cost-of-living crisis
The growing cost of living crisis is dramatically affecting people in Yorkshire, and this is having a major knock-on effect on the high street casino sector. Most people who spend time in brick-and-mortar casinos do so for entertainment purposes, but having less disposable income has forced many to prioritise other expenses. On the rarer occasions when someone does want to treat themselves, they are likely to visit fast-food restaurants like Popeyes rather than attend a casino and place a bet.
With cost of living and some of the other challenges set to continue for some time, it will be a hard task for brick-and-mortar casinos to attract players back into their premises.