The threat of the 2019 coronavirus is now serious and it’s already named as a pandemic by the World Health Organization. This means that many countries are now having a hard time controlling the spread of the virus and it’s already affecting the daily lives of billions of people worldwide.
Part of dealing with this pandemic is shutting down businesses, establishments, and events to lessen crowd gatherings where people could easily spread the virus. Many countries have already ordered people to be in quarantine and some places are already on lockdown.
States in the US like Nevada, New Jersey, and Maryland have already ordered the temporary closure of many establishments including the casinos. This may have an impact on the market value of the casino industry this year, but real money online casinos are still operating.
Popular casino businesses like Wynn Las Vegas and Encore, MGM Resorts International, William Hill, and Caesars Palace have all temporarily closed their casinos to follow the orders of the state of Nevada. William Hill and Caesars Palace both decided to keep its online operations.
However, sportsbooks are also experiencing difficulties during this time because many sports events are now canceled and postponed. The odds that they offer just don’t look like how it usually looks during March of each year when many sports events are either nearing its end or opening.
These online bookies are now forced to get creative just so they have something to offer to their customers. Sports events that they don’t usually book are now being booked just to cover the lack of fixtures in the next few weeks.
While land casinos are forced to stop their operations in the meantime, many operators are now relying on their online counterparts. The thing about online gambling is that it has always been in a great place in terms of revenue.
With the closure of land casinos and with more people stuck at home, it is likely that online casinos will have a boost in traffic. This could help the US economy during these times when businesses are close.
However, this could still impact the local economies of states that rely on the income of casinos, hotels, restaurants, and the likes. David Schwartz who is an expert on gambling and casinos from the University of Nevada said that these casinos shutting down for a while will ripple through local economies.
Now, online casinos have played an important role in the gambling industry for some time now. PlayNJ’s Eric Ramsey spoke about this and said, “Online casino already generates more revenue than its retail casino, and others have been closing the gap.”
However, it’s to be acknowledged that not all land casinos have online services available and so these land operators are a bit unprepared with what happened.
The president of Live Casino and Hotel in Baltimore, Robert Norton, said that he doesn’t understand the logic or effectiveness of the decision of Maryland to close casinos. He said this because no similar action is taken against the restaurants, bars, or even the airports in the state.
Norton said, “Unfortunately there’s been no direct communication with this industry from the state. We learned only right before the announcement was made.”
Despite this, Norton still said that Live will set aside a budget of 5 million US dollars to cover the wages and benefits of its 2,500 employees. Even the hourly and tip portions of these employees will be covered.
These casinos that have closed are all going to cover for the days that their employees remain at home. However, for now, it still remains unclear whether things will really get back to the way they are by mid-April.
The number of COVID-19 cases in the US continues to rise each day. Worldwide, there are now over 300,000 cases of this with around 4,000 fatalities. The United States is now the third most affected country with this virus with over 50,000 cases and 775 deaths.
It is the state of New York that is specifically hit hard as of the moment but it is possible that more states will eventually get to where New York is at the moment. This includes states where few land casinos are like Nevada, New Jersey, Illinois, and Maryland.
For now, it’s hard to tell how quickly these land casinos will be able to bounce back once they get back to business. What some of them are focused on now is to keep on operating and offering their services online if they have it.