On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the first global pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918. The result was countries closing borders, announcing draconian “lockdowns” to curb the virus’s spread.
What was supposed to be “two weeks to stop the spread” turned into a year of rolling lockdowns, forcing the closure of many businesses and the end of the greatest economic boom in history.
The entertainment industry saw a massive collapse. Cinemas, nightclubs, and casinos closed their doors as governments banned the congregation of large groups in indoor venues. As a result, millions of gamblers worldwide turned to online casinos to get their entertainment fix.
Why Do People Gamble Online More During Lockdown?
While online gambling experienced a massive uptick, It’s not clear if it’s from existing players migrating to online platforms or if it is due to new gamblers entering the market. It’s also unclear as to whether people gambled more during the pandemic lockdowns.
Let’s look at a few reasons why people might gamble more during a lockdown.
With the pandemic causing the Las Vegas strip’s closure and all its casinos, many players decided to take their chances online, signing up for online casino without verification and other online gambling platforms. The result was a massive inflow of cash into these venues, giving online gambling its biggest year ever.
With the Las Vegas strip reopening in March to limited crowds, it’s going to take a few years before things get back to normal in “Sin City” and other gaming venues around the world, like Macau. In the interim, we can expect people to continue the trend of gambling online.
Along with the draconian lockdowns, governments worldwide instituted policies of “social distancing” where people are to keep a distance of 6-feet from one another. Obviously, casinos can’t adhere to this law without drastically reducing crowds in the venue.
As a result, casinos remain closed, or some only offer VIP services. Gamblers found that they comply with social distancing and lockdown laws by staying at home and gaming online. With less social responsibility, many people are spending more time in front of a screen. The reality is that these individuals spend more time on their hobbies, including online gambling.
Being locked away at home is hard on your mental health. Due to the isolation caused by stay-at-home orders, many people find themselves bored as they sit inside their homes. Online gambling offers a dopamine rush that relieves this boredom.
Spending more time in front of the PC, laptop, or smart device means you’re more likely to do the things that keep you entertained – including gambling.
The global pandemic saw Americans complying with laws forcing the closure of “non-essential” businesses. As a result, millions of people lost their income. To combat this problem, the US government and the FED collaborated to issue “stimulus checks” to Americans fighting to keep their head above the financial waters.
However, many of the stimulus checks went to people with adequate finances and savings to help them through the lockdown. Those Americans spent those stimmy checks on gambling, playing the stock market, and investing in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Running Out of Income
With millions of Americans losing their jobs, income dried up. Those Americans caught with no savings had to do something to create income for their household. Gambling their stimmy checks is a last-ditch attempt to make money also saw new inflows into online gambling.
These Americans were willing to risk it all in the hope of making money that could see them and their family through the lockdown.
Will the Trend of Online Gambling Continue in 2021?
With the pandemic easing, many Americans are getting back to their daily routine thanks to herd immunity and the vaccine rollout. However, things in Europe aren’t looking as rosy. Delays in the vaccine rollout and fears of new outbreaks have some countries re-introducing lockdowns.
With countries like Germany extending lockdowns to beyond Easter, the pandemic is far from over in Europe. We can expect the trend of online gambling and entertainment to continue to rise in 2021 until we see an end to government tyranny in the US and the EU.