Online Casino searches have increased by 100% during the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting certain countries to take action and regulate the industry.
The current situation in the world means that many industries are taking a severe hit due to closure. One of the industries which are predicted to suffer major loses is the traditional gambling industry.
Pretty much all countries which are affected have forced land-based casinos to temporarily shut down their operations. It’s still unsure when gambling establishments will re-open, so the potential losses could be in the billions.
But, not everything is so grim when it comes to gambling. In fact, online casino searches are going up.
More people are looking for online casinos
It seems that the online gambling industry is actually thriving in these times when land-based casinos are closed down. The latest trends from Google show that online casino searches increased by 100% on March 12th.
The trend continued to spike over the following weeks and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down any time soon.
North America is especially struck by this trend where for the first time online casino searches were more than sports betting or live sports. But this probably has more to do with the fact that live sports events have been cancelled, so users turn their attention to online casinos.
At the moment there is still no information on to how the increase in searches translates to revenue for online casinos. But it’s still early to make any predictions and we will have to wait for some time to see what effects the current situation has when it comes to online gambling.
Still, it seems that despite everything that is happening in the world it couldn’t have come at a better time for the states in America which have opened up to online gambling.
With New Jersey being the leader in online gambling, they and 5 other states which are open to gaming have noticed an increase in revenue. This proves that fully making online gambling legal in the US has the potential to exponentially grow, alongside land-based casinos.
Maybe this will serve as a wakeup call that it’s finally time to re-open the entire territory of the United States to online gambling once again. At the same time the trend of increase in searches is not well received around the world.
Portugal considers temporarily banning online gambling
During the lockdown in Portugal, a bill was submitted and passed by Partido das Pessoas, dos Animais e da Natureza (PAN). This bill states that regulators will seek a part of complete limitation when it comes to online gambling, meaning that online casinos and bookmakers will be equally affected.
The reason for the passing of this bill is to protect Portugal citizens from the dangers of uncontrolled gambling. It’s believed that at times when the entire country economy is slowed down, certain vulnerable individuals might turn to online casinos and bookmakers as a means of making a profit.
This brings on the risk of additional financial problems and other dangers which come along with problematic gambling. But it seems that Portugal is not alone in this endeavour.
For now, other governments like Latvia and Lithuania have joined in with similar bills, while Sweden is considering to place a temporary suspension on all online gambling activities. How this will proceed remains to be seen.
EGBA disputes claims of European online casino boom
Opposed to the measured the countries above are taking the European Gaming and Betting Association (EGBA) claims that the current situation will actually have the opposite effect. Despite the increase in searches, they are expecting a decline in online gambling activities.
They do, however, warn that operators should take the lead in protecting problematic players at these turbulent times.
Their claim for a decline in online gambling activities comes from a simple reason. Sports betting totals to half of all betting activity in Europe. Since all sports events are currently put on hold there is virtually no way for gambling activities to increase. Players simply have no sports events to bet on.
The EGBA also points out that there are many tools which players can use when it comes to problematic gambling. They can exclude from certain operators or even on a national basis, as a mean to reduce or completely stop problematic gambling.
The association also points out that operators should pay special attention to their players in these hard times. If any signs of problematic gambling show up the operator needs to take steps towards the player and end it immediately.
This should have a more positive effect on the industry as a whole, rather than taking extreme measures as some European countries have done. In the long run, this should keep the online gambling industry stable and they will avoid any major losses or recession.
This means that the industry will keep its employees and they won’t feel the side effects of the current situation in the world. For now, it remains to be seen how this will play out.