The way we live our lives has drastically changed over the past twelve months, with Covid-19 impacting everything from the way we work to the way we socialise. The digital world has taken on a whole new significance as we’ve been increasingly confined to our homes during the lockdown, with many of us relying on the likes of Zoom to keep up with business meetings and social media to keep in touch with friends and family.
Meanwhile, shopping has moved almost entirely online, as bricks-and-mortar stores forced to close their doors, with many pivoting to upgrade their digital offerings as a result. For many, the results have been surprisingly positive, with online revenue exceeding what they would usually make from face-to-face sales – heralding the beginning of a new way of working for all types of businesses that is here to stay.
One industry that has seen a dramatic increase in online customers is entertainment, with many sitting at home with little to do while waiting for lockdown to end. Gambling and gaming lovers, in particular, have been looking for new ways to get their adrenaline fix from home – so it comes as little surprise that for online casinos, business is booming.
In the UK, many of the biggest online providers have seen their customer bases increase seemingly exponentially, with some of the world’s biggest high-rollers turning to the digital portals with the fastest payouts – like Mr Casinova – to place their usual eye-wateringly large bets for the chance to win back even more. As a result, they are upping their game when it comes to customer service in order to hold onto them long-term. While some have introduced AI chatbots to boost efficiency and provide a seamless experience from sign-up to payout, others are upping the ante when it comes to VIP packages, offering free spins on the roulette table, extra bonuses and even free trips for their most valuable, high-net customers.
While there’s no denying that bricks-and-mortar casinos have a charm all of their own – with glamorous surroundings, sophisticated dress codes and impeccable service throughout, they could have a battle on their hands when it comes to reopening, with social distancing measures likely to stay in place for the long-term and potentially encouraging customers to continue playing online.
In the US, online gambling is undergoing a similar rise to superiority, with Covid-19 keeping players away from roulette and blackjack tables by necessity and in some cases, also by choice. A national industry group has reported that the pandemic cut gambling revenue in the U.S. by 31 per cent in 2020, compared with the year before – but as online offerings start to kick in, the numbers are back on the rise.
So what does this mean for the more traditional land-based casinos we know and love? Could this be the end of them?
On the contrary, many of the world’s biggest known venues are treating the trend towards online gaming as an opportunity, and despite having one been wary of the competition, they quickly realise that they, too, can have a slice of the online pie. In fact, many have launched digital offerings all of their own, instantly winning over customers thanks to their excellent and long-standing reputations.
For starters, this serves as a clever way for them to ensure they remain within their target market’s consciousness, increasing the chances that they will return to their bricks-and-mortar establishments once things return to normal. Not many can resist the bright lights of Las Vegas or Macau for long, and many seasoned players will be raring to return once considered safe to do so. But aside from this, such big names are also ensuring a continued relationship with their customers no matter what the future holds – and whether that be online, off, or a mixture of both.
Whatever the future holds in terms of the pandemic, it seems that adaptability is the key to weathering the storm in style, and the casino industry is one of the biggest and best examples of how moving fast can make all the difference. And, whether you prefer the convenience of being able to play your favourite table games from anywhere, with a fully immersive experience – or prefer the real thing, the good news is that over the coming year, you’ll likely be able to do both.
Please gamble responsibly (18+ UK) – check age restrictions before participating