How Will Coronavirus Affect Casinos, Land-Based and Online?

March 11, 2020 •

coronavirusThe big topic all over the world recently has been the Coronavirus disease and how it has spread from country to country since its origins in Wu Han, China. Italy has experienced a devastating cull of its people, thanks to the disease reaching its shores and running rampant throughout the population.

This has led to many people in the country going into self-isolation, and this has been experienced in a number of other countries too, including South Korea, Australia and Germany. The United Kingdom has also been affected by the disease, with several people having passed away from its symptoms.

With the United Kingdom potentially preparing for a situation similar to Italy, it’s important to ask what other areas this will have an affect on. Of course, many entertainment venues where crowds gather, such as cinemas, music venues and land-based casinos, could see a knock-on effect of the disease. So, what exactly are casinos doing to try and prevent any kind of spread of Coronavirus to their customers? Yet, it’s not only the United Kingdom that is affected by this. Worldwide, land-based casinos have found themselves in tricky situations, and perhaps one of the biggest cases of this has been in the gambling hub of Macau.

Macau Suspends Casino Activity

macau casinosMacau, being a location in China itself, saw its gambling revenue fall by 88% in the month of February 2020 when compared with the same time period the previous year. That’s certainly not a surprise though, because Macau went through an unprecedented 15-day lockdown of all of its casinos in February, with the hopes of containing the spread of Coronavirus.

In total, 41 casinos were forced to shut their doors by government demand, and this included the MGM Resorts establishment. That extension could also have been extended, depending upon how severe the outbreak became. Within Macau, 10 confirmed cases of Coronavirus were reported prior to the shutdown. Of course, travel to Macau has also dropped by around 80% since the outbreak made global headlines in mid-January, and the administrative region even considered completely closing its borders to mainland China.

In the end, the 15-day shutdown period was not extended, with casinos re-opening for business on February 17. No further cases of Coronavirus were reported during the lockdown, and government services also resumed operation in the same week. However, to be able to stop the spread of the disease, visitors to casinos in Macau are required to wear a mask and have their temperature checked at the entrance beforehand. Meanwhile, any non-resident workers returning to the casino hub in Macau from mainland China were forced to undergo medical surveillance for a 14-day period in designated locations in Zhuhai. A health certificate also had to be obtained from the authorities before being allowed back into Macau.

Vegas Feels the Effects of Coronavirus

las vegas strip

Macau may be a lot closer to where Coronavirus originated, but that hasn’t stopped the virus from spreading around the world. It has even reached another large gambling hub in Las Vegas. As of March 9, a total of four people were confirmed to have contracted the disease in Nevada. Yet, casinos on the Vegas Strip are working together in a bid to try and combat the spread of Coronavirus.

Various employees of the casinos on the Strip have spoken of action being taken to avoid the spread, with the Wynn hotel-casino reporting that double the number of people have been on the casino floor disinfecting the slot machines there. The majority of table games have also had a bottle of hand sanitiser installed, which dealers use before they start playing and utilise for washing down the table itself. Additionally, every couple of hands, the cards are removed in order to be sanitised or shredded.

Meanwhile, at both the Venetian and Palazzo hotel-casinos, several employees have noted that staff have been added to every bathroom for round-the-clock sanitising of doors, handles, counters and toilets within. Central sanitisers between table games have also been installed into these establishments.

In fact, hand sanitising stations have been added to the venues’ high-traffic areas, while bar areas within those establishments have also gone through thorough cleaning on a regular basis.

Could We See an Increase in Online Casino Gameplay?

online casino gamblingThe primary advice given to those people who could be suffering from Coronavirus, is to stay indoors, isolated from others for several weeks. Naturally, this doesn’t allow for regular casino gamers to head out to their favourite establishment, so as to participate in gaming. Therefore, it could be that online casino sites will see an increase in the number of people accessing their lobbies. After all, players are not required to leave the house in order to play at such sites.

What’s more, if sporting events are also put on hold due to a potential pandemic, then sports betting could also take quite the hit in this case. Without sports to bet on, sportsbooks will become fairly useless. Therefore, some of the gamblers from those platforms may end up turning to casino sites as an alternative to satisfy their betting needs. Granted, that’s quite the boon for online casino platforms to benefit from, although it does have quite the adverse effect where the sports betting world is concerned.

Yet, there’s only so much that people have the possibility of earning if they’re out of the workplace. Should various employees be isolated at home and not earning money, will they really be able to afford online gambling of any sort? Perhaps there will be an overall decline in this, considering money will have to be used for other things.

Multiple reports have suggested that the United Kingdom is ready for any sort of huge Coronavirus outbreak, but whether or not that is true remains to be potentially be seen. Other locations have suggested the same thing, and Italy is now suffering under the strain. It is hoped that a vaccine can be discovered for it before any dramatic measures need to be taken.

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