How Much Has Online Gambling Increased During the Covid-19 Pandemic?

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The coronavirus crisis remains a real threat for people around the globe, and has derailed and decimated many industries, or else forced them to evolve.

Of course, every problem also presents opportunities to those in the right position, and one of the beneficiaries of quarantines, lockdowns and other pandemic-related restrictions has been the online gambling market.

So just how much growth has this industry enjoyed, why is it thriving, and will this continue in the long term or drop off after the peril of COVID-19 recedes?

Facts & figures

2020 saw the global online gambling market grow to a value of almost $67 billion, with analysts projecting that 2021 will see this trend continue. The fact that customer spending increased at a double-digit rate is a direct reflection of the fact that more people were drawn to casino sites at a time when many other forms of entertainment were taken off the table by the pandemic.

Indeed, the trajectory of revenue generation by online casinos is anticipated to be bullish for some time to come, and by 2028 it could easily hit $158 billion.

It is no surprise that casino operators are feeling generous, offering sign-up bonuses as well as lines of credit to customers. So how do casino credit lines work for players? Simply by incentivizing to keep playing thanks to cash that is fronted by the operator itself.

In short, not only did the pandemic result in a significant uptick in online gambling, but this industry is tipped to flourish even as the world gets back to normal.

Important influences

There is no doubting that a flood of new players came to discover online gambling as a result of the side-effects of the pandemic. However, this is just one of the elements which came together to catalyze growth so significantly in 2020 and beyond.

Arguably more important was the increased accessibility of casino services, made possible thanks to a combination of widespread smartphone ownership and the fast network connectivity required to fuel such online solutions.

Whether on the move or at home, even those with a lower end device can experience all that top internet gambling brands have to offer.

Further to this, the timing of the pandemic coincided with the movement to legalize online gambling across the US gathering pace.

With places like New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and West Virginia all jumping on the bandwagon in recent years, it became clear that without such regulation and licensing, the market would not have been able to boom to the same extent.

Subsidiary benefits

Speaking of the legalization of online gambling in the US specifically, but also more generally in other parts of the world, it is worth touching upon the advantages of the boost in revenues that the pandemic provided.

Perhaps most obviously, authorities were able to collect taxes based on the money made by licensed online gambling services. This is noteworthy because in places where casino sites are not officially endorsed, players would be forced to use overseas sites and thus result in tax revenues being lost altogether.

In addition, online casinos in the US must be operated by companies with a land-based casino presence in most cases. This was crucial to the survival of many of the best-known bricks and mortar casino brands during the height of the pandemic since they could continue to serve customers digitally even if their physical premises were inaccessible.

The long view

At this point it should be apparent that online gambling is a growth industry, not just because it managed to turn the circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic to its advantage, but also because it taps into the wants and needs of people everywhere and has done so for millennia.

The expectation of sustained year-on-year growth for at least the next half-decade or more is eye-catching, and should come to fruition. However, there is the potential for a tapering off to occur, and this is very much in the hands of regulators.

In places where online gambling is legalized and regulated, it has thrived. In those where it remains either openly outlawed, or mired in a lack of specific legislation, it is effectively stuck in limbo.

The US will no doubt be one of the main propagators of online gambling going forward, and legalization is good news for consumers just as much as it is a positive from the perspective of the people responsible for increasing tax revenues.

 

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About the Author: Brian Novak