While 2020 was a tumultuous year for many, and gambling has never made for easy dinner table conversation, the Coronavirus pandemic has taught us a great deal over the past few months.
Online gambling is one market that has seen a great deal of growth. Even though many businesses found themselves needing to shut their doors, gamblers turned to online casinos for entertainment while in lockdown.
While online gambling has been around for years, many preferred gaming in land-based casinos where they could meet up with friends for drinks, spin the pokies and have a good time.
Of course, meeting up with friends is a thing of the past in many countries now. While online meeting apps and chat facilities alleviate the boredom to some extent, a more sustainable solution is still an unknown quantity for the moment.
Within the first few months of the international lockdown, findings in the Survation poll noticed an increase in gambling activity. And this was despite the cancellation of sports matches thought to be the death knell for the sports betting market. When surveyed, regular gamblers confirmed that they were gambling more, not less during the pandemic as they found a new niche in online casinos.
As many as 40% of people who previously placed sports bets, opened new accounts with online casinos at the very start of this pandemic with a large portion finding joy in playing pokies and table games in the safety and security of their homes.
Commissioned by Clean Up Gambling, this survey established that while the true winners of the pandemic would be online betting operators, punters had discovered new ways to gamble as they adapted and evolved in the face of a changing world.
Around the same time, players who had decided to make gambling their form of income, relished in their ability to continue working from home. These professional gamblers played casino games against less experienced players, thereby increasing the size and frequency of their wins.
Drew Layton was one such player who has been in the game since 2006 when he dropped out of college, much to his parents’ chagrin. He noted that with more players flocking to online casino sites, prize pools of poker games and pokie tournaments have increased as players pay the rake to compete.
As Layton has years of experience, winning the grand prize has never been more lucrative as he efficiently eliminated competitors to be the last man standing.
Getting it right
Flutter, a global operator of online casinos and sports betting websites that include Betfair, FanDuel, PokerStars and Sky Betting, rebounded after an initial decline when live matches got cancelled locally and internationally. This rebound could mainly be attributed to their online casino offering as it gave players the option to play games, without ever leaving the comfort of their couch.
By diversifying their platform, they thrived while others continued to struggle for survival.
Given that live matches may well return soon, players will know where to turn for their betting needs. And it was undoubtedly thanks to this offering that Flutter could donate AU$1,539,792 to the GambleAware coffers as they made good on their commitment as a United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) license holder to do their part in raising awareness for responsible gambling.
The UKGC requires that license holders donate 0.1% of their annual Gross Gambling Yield to GambleAware. Those who rake in anything that falls below the AU$440,444 threshold are asked to donate a minimum of around AU$440 annually.
Other companies making significant donations include BetFred who transferred AU$132,874, Gamesys who paid over AU$792,800 and bet365 which donated AU$1,344,235. William Hill was the winner in the donations list with a donation that totalled more than half of their AU$1,832,247 pledge over the first three quarters of 2020.
Online casinos and gamblers who have been honing their skills for years are just a few positives within an altogether terrible time. While good news stories are hard to find, they are there if you know just where to look!