As the latest pandemic wave is gaining steam, the question of how new measures and lockdowns in South Africa will affect the country’s economy is on everyone’s mind. Some industries, like gambling, had managed to go almost unscathed so far and even increase their revenue. However, the current situation is starting to worry even them, as the impact on casinos seems to be unavoidable this time around.
Sports betting is the most popular form of gambling in the world. However, it is also very vulnerable to lockdowns for a straightforward reason: sporting events tend to be among the first ones to be cancelled in case of a worsening pandemic situation, like the one we are in now. That leaves players with no matches to bet on, much to the bookies’ chagrin.
Last spring, when the world first faced Covid-19 restrictions, almost all football leagues cancelled their competitions, forcing punters to bet on a few obscure ones that were still playing, like the Belarusian Premier League. At one point, searches like “BATE Borisov goalie” and Dinamo Minsk roster” topped the Google charts as the most searched terms.
Aside from everyone becoming an instant expert in Belarussian football, there were some severe consequences to the online gambling industry. Many bookies were even forced to downsize their operation and some even closed shops for good. This time around, we do not expect the situation to be that dramatic.
Some of the nations where the best football is played and whose leagues are the most popular among the players, like the UK, Spain, Italy, and most European countries, have a high percentage of vaccinated population. That means even if the situation gets considerably worse, lockdowns will be short-lived and won’t affect sports betting as they did last year.
By definition, online casinos aren’t directly affected by lockdowns or by almost any other measure the South African government can impose on the general population. Online casinos not only managed to survive but even thrive last time we had drastic measures introduced. People forced to spend days confined to their homes were starved for entertainment and turned to the Internet for fun in droves.
Many of them found their way to https://www.onlinegamblingsa.com/ to pick a safe casino to place a few bets. Sites like casino.com fared exceptionally well from a massive influx of new players. However, some experts claim that the worsening economic situation will seriously indirectly impact online casinos. With the economy in recession, there will be less money going around, and people will spend less on entertainment, including gambling.
While this makes sense, others argue that gambling is one industry that prospers during economic crises. Some people will rather spend money in online casinos, hoping for that one big win that will save the day than on some other form of entertainment. Both sides’ arguments have merits, so we’ll just have to wait and see who is right. Regardless, we do not predict that the new lockdown in South Africa will significantly impact online casinos.
Traditional brick-and-mortar casinos didn’t fare well during the Covid-19 pandemic, just like the rest of the tourist industry. Travelling was among the areas that were hit the hardest by lockdowns, and hotels struggled to stay afloat as the flow of guests got suddenly cut off.
Casinos in many cities worldwide, especially those who depend heavily on out-of-town tourists, shared the same destiny. Even the world’s gambling capital, Las Vegas, had its share of hardship, trying to weather the lockdowns and social distancing rules.
Casinos in the famed Sin City struggled like those in Atlantic City, Macau, and other popular destinations. They had a temporary respite during the late spring and summer, but it remains to be seen just how capable of going another round with Covid are they. One thing that could save them is mass vaccination, which would lead to relaxing measures and restoration of travelling. Unfortunately, many countries are far behind the vaccination levels needed to avoid lockdowns. If that doesn’t improve considerably soon, traditional casinos will continue to struggle.