At the outset of the pandemic, billions of people were suddenly affected by lockdowns from Toronto to Johannesburg to Mumbai and everywhere else. They stayed home while scientists and experts battled to understand this new threat to humanity. The cancellation of large-scale events and business closures meant that people betting on sports fixtures, horse races, or passing the time in physical casinos abruptly and wholly came to a halt.
Time Is Money
With so much free time on their hands, people started looking for new and exciting things to do. The work-from-home evolution meant that pretty much everybody had an Internet connection and some kind of device to access it, resulting in bored people trying dozens of live casino games online.
Gamblers who no longer had their usual avenues to rely on would turn to online platforms to test their luck and line their pockets. In the United Kingdom, they were over six times more likely to do so than before COVID-19!
People who were already gambling would end up playing even longer, which would often lead to them trying other games after fatigue with one would set in. People spend more time playing online, so they spend more money on their wagers.
Global & Regional Trends
Before the pandemic struck, an estimated 51% of people took part in some form of gambling. The global online gambling sector has expanded by about 6% in the last year, representing a worldwide revenue of approximately $565 billion. According to Yahoo Finance, the annual growth rate for the industry from 2021 to 2026 is projected at 11.49%.
With the indefinite postponement of traditional sports events, esports betting has been estimated to double in value as gamblers seek new thrills. In countries as diverse as Italy, Australia and New Zealand, and South Africa, online gambling has been growing its share of the pie.
In the United States of America, casinos are famously the domain of the First Nations. While this does not contribute to the country’s balance sheet, it affords indigenous Americans the opportunity and capital to support their communities in a meaningful way.
The European gambling market currently has an approximate value of $53 billion, which is projected to double by 2027, much like the global trend.
Exceptions to the Rule
While many people have turned to online gambling, the end of the pandemic will likely see most of them return to their preferred gambling activities. Younger people are generally more likely to try online gambling, which might be problematic for those with nothing better to do.
The lockdowns have adversely affected many industries, families, and communities, resulting in job losses that discouraged many from gambling at all, as per the British Gambling Commission. However, online gambling has seen stellar growth (as have most online-based businesses), and it will continue on an upward trajectory.
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