The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic erupted at the start of 2020 fundamentally altering human society. Entertainment establishments closed their doors and, for many of them, remained closed for a considerable time as customers were compelled to stay at home.
Many well-known hangouts, including eateries, movie theatres, bowling alleys, and casinos closed down; some provided substitutes for those stranded at home, while others did not. Online streaming platforms replaced theatres, and online casinos supplanted gaming halls.
As a result, several companies experienced growth even as the epidemic was underway as individuals switched their usual physical activities online. online betting was one of the most well-known industries to experience a significant upswing.
However, this boom that propelled the sector has started to crash now that global lockdowns have ended and the world is beginning to move on. Join us as we examine the rise and fall of this boom and the future of this well-liked activity.
Increased Lockdown Gambling
As casinos closed, many devoted UK gamblers were left without an actual location to seek the thrill of winning. Thankfully, several long-running online casinos and a few fresh ones stepped in to fill the gap.
Even amid the harshest lockdowns, many players managed to play. In reality, just two months after the initial lockdowns started, in May 2020, this move online was captured and documented.
According to a BBC analysis, Google Trends revealed that more UK residents were looking for online casinos than ever. This demonstrated that despite being barred from their preferred casinos, players in the nation were not prepared to give up trying to satisfy their urge to gamble.
In just six months, UK players created around 15.28 million new online player accounts as evidence that these search results were accurate (between April 2020 and September 2020).
Remote betting or online casinos contributed £3.1 billion of the gross gambling yield (GGY) in the UK for the same six-month period, according to the UK Gambling Commission. More proof of the surge in online betting during the lockdown. 52.3% of the £5.9 billion GGY total for the six months came from this.
Online slot machines were the major source of this big sum. These brought in almost £1.9 billion and demonstrated how online slots are evolving to satisfy gamers’ cravings for gaming.
Although the lockdowns and the migration to online platforms were a huge boon for online casinos, all good things must end. Instead, the sector unexpectedly experienced a decline in players—and revenue—once lockdowns ended and individuals could return to their land-based casinos.
Lockdown Gambling’s Demise
Many players who had switched their gaming activities to online venues once casinos and other entertainment venues reopened did so once again. After spending months at home, many people were able to return to their employment thanks to this major local economic boost.
However, the lockdown’s immediate impact on the termination of the gambling boom came along with this return to physical spaces. This was observed throughout the sector, with some websites, like Flutter, reporting significant losses in 2021.
Unexpectedly, the decline in lockdown gambling online was not just the result of lockdowns ending and people going outside. The UK government played a significant role in quickening this slide.
The UK government reviewed the nation’s current gambling regulations in December 2020. and the main issues raised were the widespread gambling addiction in the country and the influence of gambling on young people.
This latest round of regulatory reforms comes on the heels of those enacted in 2018, which reduced the maximum bet players could place on actual slot machines from £100 to just £2.
The newest round of regulations was unveiled in April 2022 to make sure online gaming companies do more to recognise and protect patrons at risk of harm. The revised consumer protection guidance will aid gambling establishments in comprehending and observing the new regulations, which will take effect on September 12, 2022
Additionally, these additional laws against online casinos suggest taking steps to restrict how much money players can deposit into their player accounts at one time. Further, it is mentioned that gamers must demonstrate their ability to pay before being permitted to deposit.
Some online casinos, including the formerly well-known WinTrillions, have stopped operating in the UK because of the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the future of online betting in the nation. The decline in gamers was accelerated by certain online casinos leaving the area.
The fact that there were 5.4% fewer gambling operators registered with the UK Gambling
Commission by March 2021 than in 2020 is evidence of this. Numerous licence holders ran online sportsbooks and lotteries in addition to online casinos.
The UK’s Future of Online Betting
Online betting will not stop even though the gambling bubble that developed due to the 2020 lockdowns almost probably broke. Even after the decline in 2021, internet gambling continues to grow annually, as it has since about 2016.
As a result, many people will continue to enjoy online betting unless the government enacts stringent laws that ultimately drive players (and providers) away. The massive money these internet casinos earn will once again make this obvious.
Therefore, although COVID-19, lockdowns, and government interference have caused online betting to experience ups and downs over the past two years, the sector as a whole doesn’t appear to be in serious trouble. online betting is climbing steadily to the top of the gaming industry’s tower.