Will Omicron Be the Straw That Broke the Casinos’ Back?
The Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown restrictions it imposed on people have treated industries differently. While some sectors flourished and made profits despite the pandemic, others suffered severe setbacks.
Among the hardest hit were the travel and tourism, the hospitality, and the gambling industries. Land-based casinos and hotel resorts survive only when people enter their environments and enjoy their services. These businesses suffered intensely when the pandemic forced people to stay at home.
Today, the world is slowly recovering from the pandemic. Governments are withdrawing lockdown restrictions, and world economies are limping back to normal. The number of people getting vaccinated is increasing.
Simultaneously, newer variants of the virus are causing concern. Omicron is a new variant declared as a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization (WHO). Nobody knows much about Omicron, but health experts have noticed that it is more infectious than other variants and resistant to most existing vaccines.
It could have a profound effect as players again start searching for ways to play online. Initially, to test the waters they would look for no deposit casinos that offer zero risk since a deposit of cash is not needed. Sites like NoDepositHero are specialist in finding these offers and give tips on how to actually win money with these bonuses.
Will Omicron be the last straw that breaks the casino industry’s back? The land-based casino industry is slowly getting back to normal. But if governments impose lockdown restrictions to control the fast spread of Omicron infections, land-based casinos will find it very difficult to survive.
How Covid -19 Lockdowns Impacted the Casino Industry
Lockdowns imposed to control the Covid-19 pandemic harmed the land-based gambling industry considerably.
Land-based casinos, poker rooms, bingo halls, clubs, hotel resorts, bars and restaurants, horse racing tracks, betting shops, and other gaming establishmentsclosed their doors because of Covid-19 lockdowns.Although some land-based gambling establishments partly or completely re-opened after the first wave, they had to shut down again during the second wave of the pandemic.
On the other hand, online casinos, online sportsbooks, online poker rooms, bingo sites, and other online gambling businesses flourished during the pandemic. Forced to stay at home, people turned to online gambling sites to pass the time. Online casinos and mobile casinos became very popular. Owing to the easy accessibility of online gambling, problem gambling and gambling addiction also increased worldwide.
Some jurisdictions responded by limiting or banning online gambling advertisements and imposing betting caps to protect vulnerable players and curb gambling-related harm.
The World’s Response to Omicron
Countries have responded differently to Omicron, owing to which it is difficult to predict the impact of future Omicron lockdowns on land casinos.
Omicron is fast spreading all over Asia, Europe, and the US. The new variant has forced NZ to postpone the re-launch of its international border. Many other countries have re-imposed social distancing and issued high alerts, especially as the Xmas and New Year celebrations are just around the corner.
Meanwhile, the Netherlands, Germany, South Korea, and Ireland recently re-imposed complete or partial lockdowns and other restrictions. Israel has instructed its residents to avoid travelling to the US, and Kuwait announced that visitors have to get a booster shot if they had taken their second Covid-19 shots more than nine months back.
Many governments, including the US, may re-impose social distancing and other measures to control Covid-19 spread before the Christmas holidays.
Can Omicron Destroy the Casino Industry?
Omicron created a lot of uncertainty and tension when people just began feeling that things were finally getting back to normal.
Doctors and scientists still do not know much about the variant. Health experts doubt the ability of available vaccines to protect people from the virus. Nobody knows how aggressive Omicron is. Can Omicron disrupt human life and wreck the economy? Can it destroy land casinos? We will know the answers only with time.
Lockdowns and social distancing measures are essential to prevent infections and save lives. But these measures can sound the death knell of an industry that has not yet recovered from the impacts of previous lockdowns.
Let us consider the example of Caesars Entertainment. The company reported a 78% decline in net revenue in August 2020 because of Covid-19 lockdowns. Although the company re-opened six of its resorts in Las Vegas after the first wave of the pandemic, it suffered a net loss of $100 million compared to the $18.9 million income it reported during the same period the previous year.
If we have any Omicron lockdowns in the future, they have the potential of being the last straw on the casino industry’s back.