Casinos in almost 40 states are closing their doors this week – and while everybody is feeling it, Las Vegas and Atlantic City are obvious ghost towns. Some of the casinos have been ordered to close by the state, while others are taking the initiative and closing on their own.
The Online Alternative
With fewer brick-and-mortar options, many gamblers are now going online to find their favorite place to play slots, roulette or poker. Unfortunately, only four states offer online casinos in the U.S.: New Jersey, Delaware, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. Online sports betting is somewhat more common, but with universities closed and professional sports teams canceling or postponing their games, things have slowed down considerably in that front.
Still, online gambling sites are seeing a major spike, especially on sites like BetRivers.com and PlaySugarHouse.com. “When the NBA shut down, we really saw a sharp increase since that date,” said Robin Chabra, FOX Bet’s CEO. “We’re seeing a very strong shift to poker and online casino.”
Internet gambling has been a major revenue earner in New Jersey. And while in-person casinos are still getting the larger portion of the revenues ($3.46 billion last year), Atlantic City online casinos also earned a stunning $483 million in 2019. Those numbers are expected to be much bigger this year – even a closure of just a few weeks will shift a lot of gamblers online, and could cause a major shift on how and where gamblers play.
When Macau closed all its casinos for a two-week period in February to try to slow down the spread of coronavirus, many local players also moved to online options. Macau is slowly recovering from the huge revenue loss, although it might take months before things return to normal.
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