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How Do Asian Casino Gamers Play in a Pandemic?

The pandemic has heavily impacted businesses across the globe without sparing the gambling industry. Many Asian jurisdictions that depend on land-based casino licensing have reported significant revenue losses.

Macau, the world’s largest gambling market by revenue, experienced a 38% decline in gaming tax in the first quarter of 2021. The gaming market often accounts for about 80% of the Macau government’s revenue collections.

The pandemic saw the closure of land-based casinos to promote social distancing as one of the ways to contain the spread of the coronavirus. So, how have Asian casinos been playing during the pandemic? Read on to find out.

Land-based Casinos

In some Asian jurisdictions, casinos closed temporarily during the pandemic before reopening with health guidelines to help minimize COVID-19 infections. For example, Macau casinos only closed for 15 days.

When they reopened, it was mandatory for employees who interact with customers to wear masks at all times. Other precautions included temperature checks of gaming staff and customers entering the casinos.

These precautions ensured casino gamers continued to enjoy their favorite games in land-based casinos with reduced risk of COVID-19 infection.

Online Gambling

The social distancing restrictions imposed during a pandemic mean that brick-and-mortar casinos often remain closed. During the coronavirus pandemic, the closure of land-based casinos in Asia saw online gambling platforms attract more customers.

The lockdowns imposed by various governments forced individuals to stay at home with nothing much to do. The idleness led to increased internet traffic, with many people frequently visiting gambling sites and thousands of new users registering every day.

Asian-based online gambling platforms such as sbobet have reported significant growth during this global pandemic. It is worth noting that online gambling is largely unregulated in Asia and illegal in China.

Some industry experts point out that if Asian governments had legalized some online gaming by now, the pandemic’s negative effects on the gaming industry would be less devastating than the current situation.

According to Brendan Bussmann, a cofounder and director at Global Market Advisors LLC, governments should regulate online gambling. The regulation would help curb illegal online and land-based casinos operators who are often the major beneficiaries during a pandemic.

If Asian governments decide to regulate the online gambling market, they should employ the best practices from other jurisdictions where online gaming is already legal. The governments should only give licenses to operators ready to work in strictly regulated environments.

Sports Betting

The sports betting market in Asia also suffered a blow due to the cancellation and postponement of sporting events. The lack of sporting activities to bet on forced fans to look for alternative betting opportunities, such as eSports. This saw an increase in eSports betting in Asia.

Final Thoughts

Pandemics often have an adverse effect on businesses, and the gambling industry is often one of the most affected. Many casinos in Asia closed down during the coronavirus pandemic, forcing gamers to look for alternatives. While some gamers continued to play in the few land-based casinos that remained open, others switched to playing at online casinos in the comfort of their homes.



Jeff Campbell