The COVID-19 pandemic became a turning point for many industries, including gambling. All its sectors faced many challenges, even those, which seemed to thrive during this period.
The ups and downs of the industry are vividly described in gambling news articles. Of course, they differed among states. Some countries had a shorter lockdown period or started to return to normality earlier, while others were hit by COVID-19 severely. In addition to this, the governments of many countries imposed certain limits to restrict players from excessive gambling during the lockdown.
Cancellation of sports events, deposit limits, ban on advertising, and many other measures became a real challenge for operators. Let’s consider them in more detail.
Absence of sports competitions damaged the betting sector
The absence of sports matches became the greatest problem for both bookmakers and bettors. Sports fans were searching for alternative options to bet on. They were interested even in those types of sports and leagues, which had been unknown to them earlier. Of course, it gave a stimulus for betting operators to add more products to their offer. This situation gave a boost to such verticals as esports and virtual sports.
After the return of traditional sports, the bookmaking sector of some countries managed to revive previous income. The demand for betting on sports was high as optional offers still couldn’t substitute the excitement of wagering on live matches.
Strict pandemic-caused regulations
With the beginning of the pandemic, lockdown measures and the lack of land-based gambling entertainment, players switched to the online vertical. However, the rise in the number of casino users got regulators’ attention because it could result in an increase in the problem gambling rate. Some countries, for example, Sweden, set a deposit cap. Other states, such as the UK, restricted the advertising of gambling-related products. Almost all regulators focused on translating responsible gambling messages.
It is a well-known fact that online casinos use bonuses for customer retention and acquisition. Offering new free spins no deposit UK operators, for example, have the right to advertise these promotions. While Lithuania, in its turn, has banned all types of gambling ads recently and is hardly the only country, which has decided to go ahead with strict regulations. These measures constrained gambling firms immensely, which also reflected on the gambling industry as a whole. Without the product promotion, it was difficult for operators to generate the same revenue, which they had before the pandemic.