Online gambling popularity has skyrocketed since it launched approximately 25 years ago. There are millions of online players and the industry generates a massive 231 Billion USD per year. With online casinos becoming so popular, the outlook for the prosperity of land-based casinos looked bleak. Some industry experts predicted a big drop in revenues and closures across the world.
Prior to the online boom, land-based casinos were very popular all over the world for decades. However, at an individual level, there were some social barriers they may have deterred new players joining and playing at their local establishment. Casinos can sometimes be a daunting place to go for the first time. On entry it can be quite intimidating. Firstly, what game to play? What are the rules? Is there any special etiquette I should know? Furthermore, you then must have the courage to step up in front of strangers and hand over your hard-earned cash to play a game that you might not win! Gambling can be just as scary as it is thrilling, even without these external factors.
Mass advertising Online Casino Welcome Bonuses
There’s no doubt that multi-channel marketing has contributed to the massive increase in online casino and sports betting consumers. Nearly 1 billion USD has spent per year on advertising in the last year. Social media, online display, radio and television has been flooded with enticing marketing campaigns designed to attract new players.
Online casinos and bookmakers also boost their customer acquisition numbers by using first deposit bonuses and new player welcome packages. Browse the internet and you’ll still see many online casinos offering a 25 free spins no deposit bonus or a 150% first deposit match bonus. Of course, these special offers are intended to increase market share of existing players, but they can also be appealing to new customers that have never played before, increasing the size of the gambling player pool.
The Lockdown Effect
With lockdowns in force across the world during the global COVID19 pandemic, millions of people were ‘stuck at home’ With not much to do, the appeal of gambling from home drew in many new players and created a boom in the online casino industry. You’ll hear many stories of people learning to play poker, blackjack and other casino table games. All at smaller, entry level stakes, from the safety of their homes.
Conversely, the pandemic had a huge negative impact on the land-based casino industry. Properties were forced to close by governments across the world. Unable to open and trade, many places were forced to survive on whatever financial grants and loans they could get their hands on. A further blow for physical casino owners and companies.
As the world got to grips with COVID and lockdowns eased, restaurants, bars and casinos started to reopen. Most of the population was desperate to get out and see friends and family. People flooded out to socialise, eat, drink and have a good time. In addition to this, many individuals that had learned new skills in playing casino games were keen to try out their new talents at their local casinos.
On the contrary to the lockdown effect, this sudden change in consumer behaviour led to a small decline in the number of hours spent online and an increase in time spent in ‘the real world’.
As players now had experience and competence of playing casino games at home, some initial intimidating social barriers to playing live being lifted. Land based gambling was back and as popular as ever.
Land Based Casinos Here to Stay
It’s been a strange journey for physical casinos. The initial fear of the online version of the industry initially seen as a big threat, combined with global pandemic lockdowns spelt danger. However, the strange combination of events has actually helped lift the success of live gambling.
Whereas once before it may have looked like a battle between virtual and real, we have now learned that both can coexist and be complementary to each other. Online still remains the most convenient platform to play on, however the social and fun environment of a live casino often makes a great destination to enjoy and evening with friends and gamble responsibly.