The novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) has spread public panic all over the globe, taking a toll on the world’s economy. Many industries have taken hard hits, especially tourism and airlines. It’s no surprise that the US gambling industry is also being affected.
Some land-based casinos have temporarily closed, and it’s safe to assume that more will follow. Casinos are shutting down their businesses for a while, at least until the worldwide panic ceases, and the virus is under control. Many people are left wondering if this will have some impact on the online gambling industry.
- The coronavirus outbreak has hit land-based casinos in the US
- The virus has affected Las Vegas tourism and the US economy
- The question of whether there will be a rise in online gambling remains to be seen
COVID-19 and Land-Based Casinos
People all over the world are fearing the new Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the speed with which it spreads. While the outbreak has affected many industries, the tourism sector has taken the major hit.
The gambling industry, which depends mainly on tourists, has also felt the impact.
Casinos Shut Down
The first land-based casinos that closed were the ones in Macau, one of the world’s biggest gambling cities. Macau ordered all casinos to close on February 5. The casinos closed for only two weeks, yet the industry saw an 88% decrease in revenues as a result.
In US territory, the Wildhorse Resort and Casino in Oregon closed on March 3. Reportedly, an employee of the Oregon casino was considered presumptive positive for the virus. The casino reopened after the facility was cleaned and inspected.
In an abundance of caution, Wildhorse Resort & Casino will close immediately to complete a thorough and deep cleaning as a response to reports of a possible positive case of COVID-19. The closure includes the casino, convention center, hotel, Cineplex, Children’s Entertainment Center, and restaurants. All activities are canceled, including casino promotions and events until further notice.
Wildhorse Resort and Casino
Las Vegas Tourism Slowdown
Las Vegas, the center of the US gambling industry, known for hosting high-rollers from China, also saw a decrease in revenue. The travel restrictions negatively affected Las Vegas operators’ revenues. As Wynn Resorts, one of the major Las Vegas casinos reported:
A significant portion of our US business relies on the willingness and ability of premium international customers to travel to the US, including from mainland China. Our Las Vegas operations and operations at Encore Boston Harbor may also be adversely impacted.
Casinos Taking Precautions
Wynn Resorts is one of the many US operators with operations in China and Las Vegas. The company also said in a statement that it was monitoring the Coronavirus with local health agencies. It has also provided both guests and employees with hand sanitizer dispensers.
Considering the advice on better personal hygiene as prevention measures against the virus, installing hand sanitizer dispensers, and closing the casinos in the most critical times is all operators can do for now.
Effects on the US Economy
Gambling experts and business analysts say that it is too early to tell whether the Coronavirus will leave long-term consequences to the US industry. Nevertheless, two Las Vegas events that were scheduled for March have been canceled: a private Google event and the Trump Administration’s summit of Asian leaders.
Also, a survey of hotel room rates by SunTrust Robinson Humphrey found some pricing decreases for March, potentially suggesting cancellations related to the COVID-19.
Where Does This Leave US Online Gambling?
Considering gambling revenue never suffered that much on account of online gaming, we cannot say that the land-based casino closures will have that much of a positive impact on the online gambling industry.
The truth is, there will always be players that prefer traveling and going to attractive gambling destinations, as well as people that like to stay home and gamble online.
Both the gambling and the online gambling industry have their fans. Whether the most avid casino players, amid the Coronavirus crisis, will choose to join an online casino or not, remains to be seen.
Playing at Safe Online Casinos
One of the benefits players get from online gambling is the cut on accommodation and travel expenses. Another advantage of gambling online is the privacy, the chance to gamble from the commodity of your own home.
With this in mind, it is essential to play at reputable casino sites. One of the fastest ways to know if you’re playing at a legit online casino is if they have a seal of certification to demonstrate fairness within their games.