COVID-19 Shuts Casinos
US Online Gaming Group calls for Legal Online Gambling as Majority of US Casinos Close
The online gaming advocacy group iDevelopment & Economic Association (iDEA) is pushing for online gambling to be legalized. This comes amid the Coronavirus outbreak, which has led to nearly all US casinos slamming their doors shut to the general public as the country continues to be advised to stay indoors. The economic cost of COVID-19 continues to be felt, and the US land-based gambling industry in particular is in big trouble. There has been no time frame given when casinos in the country can begin operating again, and the vast majority of casino employees now find themselves out of work.
Infection rates of COVID-19 have been rising hugely across Europe, and this month has also started to see a sharp rise in cases in the United Sates as well. At the beginning of the month, less than 100 cases were confirmed in the US. A week later, this number surpassed 1,000. At the time of writing, we are approaching 40,000 confirmed cases in America. This has led to lawmakers requesting that people practice social distancing. Of course, several industries across the world have been hit hard by this. Almost all US casinos around the country are now closed down, including ones in Las Vegas. The American Gaming Association is now pointing this out to Congress.
Pushing for quick decision on legalization
According to reports from The Wall Street Journal, iDEA is “pushing” states to lift restrictions on internet betting so that at least some of the revenue that is being lost daily can be sourced from online games. The group has put forward an option of gubernatorial emergency powers to quickly legalize online gambling so that sites can get up and running as soon as possible. John Pappas, speaking on behalf of iDEA, said “Is it going to be a panacea? No. But in the face of closures like this, it underscores the need for the industry to also have an e-commerce platform.”
There may also be a visible sea change in how certain casino operators view online gambling. Yaniv Sherman, head of commercial development at 888 Holdings, said “The gaming industry is coming out on the other side a completely changed industry from where they are right now”.
Around 90% of US Casinos are closed
Everybody knows the success that land based casinos in the US have, particularly in the gambling mecca that is Las Vegas. However, due to the spread of Covid-19 most have now shut down. The AGA claims that 92% of all US casinos are now shut down. This equates to around 910 land-based casinos across the United Sates.
Bill Miller, President and CEO of the AGA, has given a statement to Congress about this “The federal government must act swiftly and comprehensively to get America’s hospitality employees, and the small businesses that support them, back to work,” he said. “Gaming employees, their families, and communities are bearing the brunt of this economic standstill and will continue to suffer if Congress and the administration don’t take immediate action.” Of course, it is not known when things will change and casinos can open again, but it doesn’t look like anytime soon.
Online Gambling Gaining in Popularity
There are already a lot of states that regulated online gambling in some form. In these states this means gambling revenue is still coming in. In those states without regulated casino markets, the industry is still getting more popular. There are currently lots of brilliant online casino sites in the US. In fact, many of them offer more gambling options than the biggest land-based casinos in the country.
A lot of these sites also offer options on sports wagering as well, but at this moment in time most sports events have been cancelled. You can however bet on eSports and a select few other markets on the sites. With casinos staying closed, online casino gambling will now attract more players who can play remotely. There is still a desire form people who want to place bets and online casinos are the perfect platform for them to do this. Nobody really knows how this is going to play out, but if Congress does not come to the aid of lots of casinos, they won’t be opening their doors ever again.
Come and follow us over on Twitter @Gamble_usa for more legal sports betting news across the US.
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