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Coronavirus: Impact on gambling markets worldwide

June 8, 2020

The epidemic, which quickly spread to almost all continents, provoked a collapse in oil prices, a correction in the exchange rates of major currencies, shook the position of cryptocurrency assets and had a powerful impact on the service sector. The gambling business, in any case, the ground segment, already felt the brunt of what happened.

Macau Gambling Market

The Macau gambling market was the first to suffer, mainly because of its proximity to the source of infection. Ground casinos were closed at night on February 4th. Quarantine lasted 15 days. The reason for the introduction of measures was the infection of local residents.

Even before the announcement of the termination of gambling establishments in Macau, analysts at Sanfrod C. Bernstein Ltd published a forecast according to which even a two-week closure of facilities will lead to a 50% reduction in GGR in the first quarter of this year. And these are far from the most unfavorable forecasts: according to some analysts, the reckoning can be a reduction in GGR by 75%. Moreover, all experts are united in one thing – the closure will affect the annual gambling industry.

Philippines: “invulnerable” gambling market

Note that the Philippine gambling establishments, unlike the facilities in Macau, were indeed not quarantined. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t discount the Achilles heel of the country – offshore gambling operators (POGO), which are known not only for the prevalence of scandals but also for attracting labor resources from China.

In a recent PAGCOR report, a rather ambitious forecast was made for the growth of the gaming segment this year.

According to information provided by the gambling regulator, the industry’s revenue this year may amount to $5.69 billion, which is 11% more than a year earlier. 

Note that all of the above does not take into account the spread of coronavirus and the impact of the pandemic on the operation of land-based gambling establishments. Therefore, experts do not share optimistic forecasts from the gambling regulator of the country. If the latter turns out to be wrong, the Philippines could become the first country whose business component has overcome the influence of the coronavirus.

Italy as the European focus of coronavirus

Following the PRC and South Korea, the most devastating consequences of the spread of coronavirus overtook Italy. The government has banned the movement of citizens if it’s not related to professional activities or the need for medical care. Thus, all objects related to the service sector, including casinos, were in quarantine. The latter cannot but affect the financial performance of the land segment of the gambling business. 

Eastern Europe and the post-Soviet space

Gambling establishments in Slovenia were temporarily closed until March 20. The stalemate prevailing in Italy had an impact on the decision of the country’s largest gambling operator to temporarily stop work.

Following Slovenia, the Georgian authorities ordered the termination of the work of cultural and entertainment facilities, presumably, ground-based gambling facilities are next in line.

Fortunately for countries that legalize online gambling, most users who find themselves in quarantine in search of gambling will most likely flock to online platforms of gambling operators.

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