All over the world, individuals and businesses have been hit financially by the coronavirus. Some industries have weathered the lockdowns while others have been devastated.
Cinemas, restaurants, and airlines are three areas that have seen their revenues destroyed and it remains to be seen how many industries will look once the pandemic is finally over. Some businesses though, have flourished during lockdowns and quarantines. Perhaps not surprisingly, these companies are nearly all internet-based.
During the past year, streaming services such as Netflix obtained millions of new viewers. Companies like Ubereats grew as people were forced to stay home but missed take-out and restaurant food.
Online gambling also grew during this period. Just as traditional casinos saw their incomes drop as doors were closed and poker tables covered, the online side of the industry gathered pace.
As some areas return to a kind of normality, will online casinos continue to grow, and will traditional gambling establishments be able to recover, and if so, how will they do it?
How did Covid affect the gambling industry as a whole?
In 2019, Las Vegas had one of its biggest years as far as visitors were concerned. Over 40 million people arrived in Sin City last year to enjoy casino entertainment, attend conventions, and of course, gamble.
In 2020 that number was under 20 million and this has affected all manner of businesses in Vegas that rely heavily on a constant turnover of tourists.
Other gambling destinations and establishments were hit equally hard. In the UK bookmakers, bingo halls, and sporting arenas were closed. The English Premier League was suspended and of course, the gambling industry suffered. The EPL is the biggest league in the world and attracts millions of dollars in bets for every game.
On the other hand, though, online gambling saw something of a growth spurt as people sought out new forms of entertainment and old hands looked for other ways to gamble.
How did online gambling win from the pandemic?
The technology employed by the gambling industry to set up online casinos and sportsbooks really came into its own in the last year.
While traditional casinos closed there were record searches on the internet for online casinos. Many people who enjoyed placing a bet or playing poker, for example, wanted to carry on doing so. Secondly, millions of people were forced to stay home and became bored. There are only so many hours you can spend on Netflix before you want something perhaps a little more exciting.
Many people have now known the joy of winning the jackpot while playing online in a casino. The question is now, whether traditional casinos can employ new technology and tricks to overcome the Covid factor and get back to normal, and can online casinos keep growing?
What technology can the gambling industry use in the near future?
The industry already employs an array of technology and software to improve the guest’s experience and increase security in their casinos. Now that the pandemic has changed the way people gamble there will need to be some other changes to keep the players returning.
Here are some of the ways that casinos and gambling establishments might use tech in the future.
Casino resort check-in systems
Many casino resorts now have systems that use NFC or near-field communication technology combined with a mobile app to allow guests to check-in easier. This could become more common-place with self-check-ins and other methods used for reducing human contact.
NFC allows a guest to use their phone to unlock their door without a key, open and close window blinds, dim the lights, and even change the room temperature without touching anything. With many people frightened of Covid, it makes sense that technology would be used to limit the number of surfaces that need to be touched.
The mobile app installed lets the guest order room service, book seats at entertainment venues, and even play their favorite games in their suite.
Payment methods may be changed
Currently, it is the norm for players to only use cash in casinos. With the exception of one casino in Cyprus that takes bitcoin, the majority of land-based establishments accept cash only. There is evidence that regulators may be about to make some changes due to Covid.
Bringing in other payment options will not only attract more visitors which land-based casinos sorely need but will allow for a freer approach for players. There are reports that bitcoin may be used in slot machines soon which removes the need for dirty coins.
Online casinos are starting to use live dealers more and more. This is an inventive way to give the online experience a more human touch. By using technology to make a live casino a real-life dealer can run games online for a group of players from across the world. Simple interaction allows the dealer to address the players by their screen names while keeping their identity secret.
Virtual reality casinos
This is one technology that casinos will start to utilize more in the near future. Virtual reality will allow the same people who enjoy both online and traditional casinos to enjoy their favorite games from the comfort of their home. Unlike online casinos, however, VR will let players interact with other people in the casino and walk through the gaming floors just like they can in real life.
One thing that never changes with online casinos is the continual expansion of new games. There are many ways to entice players such as free spins with no deposits required or freispiele ohne einzahlung if you prefer. But, technology can allow different types of games to enter the casino world.
Virtual horse racing removes the worry of race events being postponed. Esports could become an area that gamblers become interested in if ‘real-life’ sports are suspended due to Covid outbreaks again.
All businesses need to adapt in the face of the pandemic if they are to survive. The gambling industry is well placed to do this as a large percentage of the business is already online but traditional casinos can incorporate more technology to move forward too.
If the casino floors are to see the same numbers of visitors that they have in the past they will need to find ways with technology to make the guest feel safe and secure. Plus, they will need to keep the excitement that casinos have always offered too.