The bricks-and-mortar casino world has been suffering for just over a year now, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in China.
Casinos have been forced to close their doors and entire countries have been sealed off for long periods of time.
As a result, Macau’s gross gaming revenue (GGR) fell by 79% in 2020 compared to 2019.
COVID Hurting Casinos Badly
Macau was built as an island of pleasure, luxury and gambling, meaning its economy relies heavily on casino revenue for taxes.
Following COVID taking a massive impact on the special administrative region’s (SAR) ability to generate income, plans were put in place to make family-friendly resorts.
Under the new plans, areas will be created with family-friendly hotels, water parks and much more, in a bid to draw in a different crowd and diversify the SAR’s income.
The Macau Gaming Inspection and Co-ordination Bureau reported that GGR was in fact up 16% when compared between December 2020 and November 2020, but it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the yearly performance.
The increase in performance came from the fact that mainland China relaxed travel restrictions to the SAR in December, allowing 24,500 people to travel to and from the SAR every day, on average.
Las Vegas is Struggling Too
Macau isn’t the only casino-focused region that’s getting battered by COVID, everywhere is suffering.
Las Vegas has reported some of the most disappointing numbers on record, with player numbers down around 70% for 2020, a similar figure to Macau.
In recent weeks, Las Vegas cut the max capacity of casinos once more, taking them, down to 25% at the max.
The Las Vegas mayor did try to fight back, but casinos and all public spaces are being forced to comply.
The situation in Vegas could be worse, as other states have demanded that casinos shut their doors once more.
Pennsylvania has forced all casinos to shut down, with the notice ending in the coming days.
However, it looks like the closure will be extended into February as case numbers continue to rise in the state.
Detroit casinos were forced to shut down for 3 weeks back in November, and they still remain closed at this time.
There’s no end in sight for this suffering industry, but it’s not all pain and suffering.
The Rise of Online Gaming
While physical casinos have been suffering, those that have diversified into the online casino world have been able to turn a cozy profit.
Recently, MGM got into the online casino game with BetMGM, joining the ranks of other casino behemoths in the industry.
However, American online casino players need to remain cautious, as numerous online casinos are allowing Americans to sign up, deposit and play, but as soon as a withdrawal is requested, the accounts closed.
This is due to the fact that these casinos are not licensed and regulated to operate in the USA.
Rather than opting to miss out on the revenue, these casinos instead allow American’s to play and close accounts once America gets mentioned.
This is a shady practice and American online casino players need to be aware of it, especially as online casinos are really taking off in the states.
It’s going to be some time before Macau and Vegas recover from the COVID effect, but hopefully most major establishments can pull through.