The news that the gambling industry in Australia was losing some $14 million per day during the lockdown caused by Covid-19 may come as a surprise to outsiders. After all, there was a belief that there would be an upsurge in usage during those times as there was practically nothing left to do, and surely the gambling industry would benefit greatly from increased participation?
A study carried out jointly by AlphaBet Australia and illion Australia Pty Ltd, has revealed an increase of some 67% within online gambling in Australia during April 2020. Of course, this is tied into Covid-19, and it does show what Australians were spending their time doing as everything bar essential services was forced into shutdown.
However, the report goes further in that it specifically ties the pandemic to the increase, and while it is anticipated that this figure will drop over time, there is little doubt that it will continue to add fuel to the expansion of the gambling industry for years to come. The yearly report on the online gambling industry by Global Market Insights Inc has forecast that the entire online industry will be worth an estimated $160 billion per year by 2026. However, it is currently unknown as to how Covid-19 will change that figure with the pandemic still causing chaos and local lockdowns.
But How Did They Lose Money?
While participation numbers sound promising, the gambling industry in Australia has had to cope with a number of difficulties primarily linked to the drastic reduction in sporting events. Gone was soccer, rugby, cricket, golf, AFL, and any other sport you can imagine. In its place, nothing much. The only arena with some life was e-sports and the wonderful Belarussian soccer league, with people becoming experts at the latest goings-on with BATE or Minsk.
It was this drop in income from sports betting that primarily led to losses, but due to the lack of sports it has meant people have turned to areas such as online casinos with a fear that many have done so with unregulated offshore casinos. Unregulated means less protection for the consumer should there be any issue.
With so much uncertainty regarding the future due to Covid-19, the online gambling industry in Australia is in a great position to ride out the storm of a pandemic. Offline casinos and gambling shops have greater fears which are only further increased by the worry of local lockdowns springing up sporadically. With less opportunity offline, don’t be surprised if that figure of $160 billion by 2026 is surpassed sooner.