When the coronavirus pandemic struck the world, it affected every aspect. And that included the world of gambling, both offline and online. Suddenly, we were all asked to stay indoors and not leave unless it was for exercise.
For some, it was fun, to begin with; it meant more time to spend with family, to catch up on all those video box sets; but after a while (and when we say a while, we mean over a year!), it began to take its toll on peoples’ bodies and minds.
Even worse, for the gamers out there, a huge part of their lives was now restricted. No more going out, no socializing, and enjoying the buzz of a casino. Everything had to be done indoors, and even then, there were reports of bandwidth overuse and the internet cutting out.
Now, however, things are looking brighter, and across Europe, lockdowns are easing up. With that being said, just as things look like they could return to normal, a third wave is possible. But everyone in Europe wants to know when they can return to casinos like they are in Las Vegas.
Shut Down, Locked in, Online
It was an unfortunate state of affairs when the lockdowns happened. As the casinos closed down, it had a major impact on business. No footfall through the buildings and those that specialize in land-based events were losing their customers fast. Even worse, if the casino didn’t have an online version, it meant lots of regulars were seeking out online casinos to play. This was good for online casinos because they saw an influx of players signing up, using their bonuses, and deciding to remain online. But now there’s the potential to return to land, so what can we expect?
Several countries in Europe are looking forward to the lifting of lockdowns. In England, for example, restaurants and public spaces will be reopening in mid-April, while casinos are anticipating their players to come back in mid-May. Hopefully, their customers have remained loyal and won’t just stay playing blackjack at online casinos.
Hopefully, as we enter spring in full swing, the nice weather and actual ability to go outside again should appeal to players and get them back in the casinos. Some countries are already ahead of the game and have restarted operations, albeit under severe restrictions. We’re not sure what that experience would be like, but if it’s anything like going to regular shops, we can imagine it’d be like this:
Social distancing must be maintained at all times.
One-way systems around the casino.
Guests wear face masks at all times.
Hand sanitizer throughout.
Players must use hand sanitizer before each game, whether a table or a slot machine. Or maybe even wear gloves.
Obviously, this is just us assuming what it might be like in a casino once it’s open, but it’s a guarantee that there will be safety measures in place.
But Online Isn’t Dead
Firstly, many players who have gone online during the initial stage of the pandemic are likely to stay online—especially those who have got accustomed to it or are perhaps too cautious about leaving the house. Then there’s the fact that other countries in Europe, such as France, have identified new waves of the virus so that they won’t be opening their doors anytime soon. However, for those who still can’t access land-based casinos, resources like OCG.com provide listings with the best and safest online casinos available.
Perhaps the future of gaming right now as we leave lockdowns is to combine online and bricks-and-mortar casinos to deliver a unique, innovative new experience. Live dealer games, for instance, are hugely popular due to the whole immersive experience. But instead of live dealer games that are broadcast from a studio, a land-based casino should broadcast live from their casino.
This would involve gaming developers’ work to create exclusive content, but big brands should have no problem acquiring it. That way, the land-based casinos can get their customers back to them, even online. It would help reinforce casino brands yet again, showing how they’re engaging with players and preparing.
And what about slots? If a land-based casino hasn’t set up an online version, now would be the time. They’d partner with gaming operators and have a whole portfolio of games to deliver from the beginning. With the best part of a year under their belt, they should have developed this by now. Then they could combine the online element, perhaps having employees dressed up as Gonzo from Gonzo’s Quest. The possibilities are endless, from the most absurd to serious.
Hopefully, lockdown is coming to an end across Europe, and the casinos are opening their doors. Will you be there?