COVID-19 has been an unrelenting issue for businesses across the globe. One such industry to see a huge impact is gambling and betting.
Many physical gambling stores have been closed or had a strict limit on the number of patrons entering the establishment.
The Betting and Gaming Council have continuously updated the advice and regulations for in-person casinos. Which has been vital for land-based casinos to understand what they need to be doing.
During the 2020 closures, the owner of the Grosvenor Casino labelled the closure senseless.
Many Yorkshire based businesses had adhered to all policies and still faced an uncertain future. The anger was further felt when public houses and restaurants were able to keep their doors open.
In 2016 the region with some of the highest gambling participation rates was Yorkshire and Humber and East of England with 61% and 60%.
Due to COVID-19, those casinos were required to close early in the pandemic, and the impact has been massive.
Casino closures across the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic
Many UK casinos have heavily relied on the government’s job retention scheme, however it still forced them to let 90% of their employees go.
One of the largest UK casino operators, Rank, needed to furlough 90% of their UK staff in 2020.
A vast 7,000 of their 7,600 were furloughed and received 80% of their salary, and all directors took a voluntary 20% pay cut to ensure their survival in April 2020; as reported by Reuters.
The UK’s leisure and hospitality sector is at breaking point, and while rules and regulations are still open to change, no one can say for sure that the casinos that managed to survive this long will continue to do so.
The UK has been the frontrunners in a well regulated and profitable gambling industry, and COVID-19 has shown that the measures they implemented for online gambling to be safe are paying off.
The online gambling industry is thriving
While people are doing all they can to keep a safe distance, and in-person casinos are adhering to the law, online casinos are thriving in the UK.
The Gambling Commission, the body responsible for gambling regulations, reported that in March 2020 online poker had risen by 53% and online sports betting by 88% compared with 2019.
Mobile phones have enabled people to enjoy gambling from the comfort of their own home, with zero risk of infection, or breaking the often confusing rules that are placed from county to county.
People who switched from land-based casinos to online casinos have realised that the odds are better, and it is more convenient in general.
Are there benefits to gambling online?
If you have been to a casino pre-COVID-19, you probably enjoy their hospitality, the atmosphere and the social aspect. But can those things be found from the comfort of your sofa? And are there perks to gambling online rather than in-person?
Heading to a casino can be a lavish affair. It is getting glammed up, ordering a taxi instead of driving, the cost of a meal and drinks while you’re there.
There are a lot of expenses attached to in-person casinos that don’t impact online at all.
You can also get the best online casino offers that wouldn’t be available when playing in person.
You have so much more to choose from. If you feel like playing poker, you can, bingo? Not a problem. You can play multiple games at once and switch between lobbies to check on your winnings.
Higher Return to Player rates
Each online casino or betting space will have their RTP rates on their website. However, the industry-standard RTP for online gambling is higher than land-based.
There are fewer overheads, and that extra cash goes back into the pot.
Online gambling is available wherever you want, whenever you want. It’s convenient to play a few short games, any time of day.
The UK has implemented regulations to make online gambling safer for patrons. You can set strict rules about how much you can play, how much you can spend, and more—giving a controlled and safe space to play your favourite poker games for a while.
Many online casinos offer several free-play or free-credit bonuses. This allows customers to play without any cost attached.
Free play allows for learning the ropes of a new game without any cash prizes.
Why do people still head to land-based casinos?
Land-based casinos offer more than just the games. Although they might be limiting in terms of choice, there is no limit to the people you can meet. Pre-COVID-19 casinos presented a more luxurious way to spend an evening.
The same reason people jet off to Las Vegas can be enjoyed in Yorkshire, London or Birmingham.
Casinos offer a well-rounded leisure experience, including music, food, cocktails and more.
While online casinos have been discussed as isolating, they often offer the opportunity to chat in lobby spaces; individual online bingo retailers have bonuses for taking part in the chat too.
How has the pandemic impacted Yorkshire’s casino life?
Like many casinos in the UK, the pandemic’s impact on Yorkshire’s casino has yet to be fully recognised.
COVID-19 hit the industry particularly hard as one of the first to be required to close, and the job losses were substantial.
With the rapid rise of online gambling, the UK’s gambling scene is a lively and profitable place.
However, with casinos like Victoria Gate implementing a social distancing floor plan, it is evident that no matter what COVID19 throws at the industry, they are ready to take action and provide outstanding gambling experiences for the residents of Yorkshire and beyond.