It will come as no surprise to anyone that land-based casinos have struggled throughout 2020 and the start of 2021. Throughout the UK land-based casinos were forced to fully close their services on at least 3 occasions, with varying restrictions put on what they were allowed to do in the times they were allowed to open. This restriction of movement would have a damaging effect on any industry and the gambling industry is no exception. It isn’t just the UK where land-based casinos were hit – throughout much of Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand there are varying degrees of restrictions put in place throughout the last 18 months – all of which would have affected how often casinos could open and the facilities they could provide when they were allowed to open their doors.
What This Meant For The Casino Industry
Although the casino industry is far from the only industry that was affected, the way that it survived is similar to lots of others. When people were unable to access physical services they turned to the internet for what they needed. In order for any company to be able to survive such difficult times, they needed to be able to adapt quickly to these new times and that is something that the iGaming industry did really well.
Although online gambling and betting websites are nothing new, there will be a section of people who were first introduced to them during a period of lockdown. After all, if you’re someone that likes to visit a physical bookmaker or land-based casino but these are closed the most sensible choice is to take your hobby online – and many people did.
What the iGaming industry as a whole did well was to ensure that their products and services matched this new criteria of customer. They understood that people would have been used to playing casino games and placing bets in a physical venue, so the transition to partaking in this online is something that needed to be made as smooth as possible.
They recognised that there was a range of potential customers out there that no longer had a way to carry out sports betting and gambling in a way that they once did. In order to make sure that they reached this new target audience they upped the amount of advertising that they were doing.
Not only did they increase advertising but the promotions they carried out also changed. This was particularly the case for land-based casinos that also operate online. As their customers are familiar with the brand, it was assumed that they would be more comfortable using online services. After all, trying something completely new during a pandemic with a brand you have never heard of might seem a bit too daunting. Brand familiarity definitely helps and this is something that those casinos that did operate physical venues most definitely took advantage of.
What’s Happened Now Everything Has Opened Back Up?
Things took a shift again in June 2021 when venues across the UK and indeed across the world started to open up again. Although there was a massive increase in the uptake of online services and many people realised the benefits of these, the fact that physical venues opened up again definitely made a difference.
A big part of this would have been the novelty and excitement of being able to go out and socialise with friends again. As we saw from things like the Eat Out to Help Out initiative in the UK last summer, there was a nation of people keen to get out and about again and see life returning to normal. When things opened up again this time, there was definitely an element of that. We saw nightclubs opening at midnight to let in keen punters, which really was just a small introduction to how the world would be now things are far less restricted.
It is important to consider brand familiarity once again. People that enjoyed attending their local casino will have missed this in the time that it was taken away from them. As such, when it opened up again they would have been keen to return to what felt right and familiar before the world took such a dramatic turn.
What Does This Mean For The Future of iGaming?
It is likely that things will settle down and people will start to return to some online services once again. It is likely that everything will reach a natural balance much like it had before the pandemic changed many industries. However responsive mobile gaming companies will be aware and have been anticipating this shift. Despite the opening of land-based facilities they are still optimistic about long-term growth prospects and will be putting plans in place to ensure that the online world is not affected long term.
Technology is always changing and the iGaming industry is one that keeps up with many of these changes. Even the fact that we have mobile responsive games goes to show just how much the casino industry, in general, is keen to keep up with customer demand and even exceed expectations.
The future of the iGaming industry is likely to be a solid one, but that is mostly down to the steps that the companies within the industry are taking. They know they have to compete with land-based casinos as well as with each other. As such, things like cryptocurrency casinos, live video casino games and bigger jackpots are all something that are starting to become more prominent in the world of online gambling. The industry knows that punters are constantly looking for bigger and better games and if they are going to compete with the real world and land-based casinos they need to make sure they do everything they can to keep up with this consumer demand.