The world is in the midst of a globally infectious outbreak of what people like to call ‘a type of virus’. A type of virus that has taken over two thousand lives and predicted to take several others, leave alone the count of the infected. It won’t be wrong to call this type of ‘virus’ – a type of ‘calamity’.
Coronavirus or as it has officially been named, COVID-19, is said to be the biggest outbreak of a life-threatening disease in the past many years. No part of the world remains untouched of its undeniable presence. The fear and the cause have unmendable effects on most industries that make a large part of the world economy. Cancellation of meetings and conferences have become a daily thing for the industries, thanks to the concerning fear. The effects that we see worsen as we start moving towards the epicenter of the coronavirus origins – China.
China, in the current scenario, is locked by all means. No offices, no schools, no transport, no import-export, almost no life. All the people who are well are either locked in their houses or taken out of the place. The infected have been quarantined in masses in a single society or so. This has lead to great economical losses within the country and its associates. One such place that has direct contact with what happens in China is Macau (the gambling capital of the world).
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Its effects on land-based casinos
Macau, the world capital of gambling, has been in great distress due to this viral outbreak. It gains its highest number of players from the Mainland of China and due to this sudden shutdown, the casinos in Macau have also reached a level of being shutdown. Reports by the casino owners reflect an 80% downfall in the number of visitors in comparison to the last year same time. And not to forget, this is the time of Chinese New Year. A time when there is a long holiday and people love hopping out of their homes to try their luck.
This is not just the case with the casinos in Macau. In fact, it is just an indication of how the other casinos might also be seeing the same depreciation due to coronavirus. Indian casinos also see a similar decrease in the number of visitors due to the lack of visitors this season. The reason behind this downfall can very well be understood. Land casinos are some of the most diverse places in terms of their visitors. Not all countries allow gambling on land, which makes such casinos a world destination for gambling. Now, this virus prohibits us to come in close proximity with anyone who has or is probable to come in contact with a coronavirus affected individual. Hence, nobody wants to gamble on life.
Who is benefitting due to this decrease in visitors?
Every minus is a plus for someone else. Just because the land casinos are tearing apart due to this coronavirus fear, doesn’t mean that the gambling industry is declining in its growth. The gambling industry has forever been existing on the land until the 2000s when the internet took charge of becoming a superpower. The internet, just like any other industry of the world, created a divide in the gambling industry. People now have the option to not leave their houses and still be able to gamble online. This new facility of being able to gamble at a casino game via the internet is called an online casino. It gained huge popularity due to its ease of access, diversity in games, and evidently, the bonuses. Nevertheless, the true worth of online casinos is coming to the spotlight when the world is in crisis.
The state of online gambling in China
Going by the statistics in the case of Macau, casinos are going lifeless, online gambling in the state has seen a massive 90% surge in traffic. This happened after the New Year celebration got barred due to the virus outbreak. The bigger factor here is that it is not even legal to bet online in countries like China. Now, such an unimaginable increase in the numbers has made the industrialists and economists raise a question in themselves, ‘Should online gambling still be kept illegal?’. A country in calamity needs to restore its functions and facilities as quickly as possible and the money that goes around in gambling is known to all. Hence, making online gambling legal seems to be a good option to get things on track as quickly as possible. This is not a statement made by us, even the Spring Owl Asset Management partner Jason Ader calls the effect of coronavirus on online gambling ‘a wake-up call’ to the governments who have kept online gambling illegal.
India and the rest of the world
Another major country of the same continent, India, is home to one of the biggest populations of the world. The country, like many other countries, has now started counting the number of coronavirus patients increasing day by day. Unlike China, India is a country that has no specific laws to illegalize online gambling but it also doesn’t legalize it. It is just non-existent. However, only the laws are non-existing, online gambling, on the contrary, has managed to gain excessive popularity in a country that has always been casino deprived. The law book in India makes gambling on land a punishable offense, giving the rights of opening land-based casinos only to states like Goa, Daman, and Sikkim. In a situation where the world sees online gambling as the hope of helping the economy grow, India may also get the same results if only gambling is legalized.
The way forward
Be it China, Philipinnes, Italy or India, this catastrophic viral outbreak has drawn the attention of the biggest industrialists and economists towards the ever-growing online gaming industry. The hope that it shows is evident and it should be just a matter of time when the governments will start realizing the industry’s true worth. Let’s wait and watch!