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Coronavirus Set to Hit the Casino Industry Hard

After 17 years of the outbreak of the epidemic of SARS or Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, which spread over more than 35 countries and affected the economy of Hong Kong and over 8,000 people, the outbreak of Coronavirus in 2020 is heavily affecting all types of businesses throughout the world. The businesses that are mainly affected by this recent epidemic may include the gambling industry as well as travel and hotel industries. However, gambling enthusiasts in the UK have largely diverted to UK casino sites to avoid the fear of being infected by others on the land-based gambling arenas.

Effect of Coronavirus on the World Economy

According to analysts, the economies that highly relied on the tourism and gaming industry like that of China and other Southeast Asian countries are most affected by the worsening of the outbreak of Coronavirus in Wuhan, China. The economy of these countries depends mainly on hotel and aviation industries as well as the gaming industry. Moreover, the spread of this disease at the peak holiday season of the Lunar New Year has greatly affected their revenue collections as their growth depended upon the tourists coming from all over the world.

The authorities from Singapore to Hong Kong have promptly banned the visit of the residents of China as well as the people visiting mainland China during the last few weeks due to the scare and possibility of containing the virus of this latest outbreak. The Chinese government has also disconnected the hubs of local transportation, banned the tours of the local people to other countries as well as locked down some of its cities to control the situation as much as possible.

Effect of Coronavirus on the Gambling Industry

According to a former board member at Las Vegas Sands and managing partner at SpringOwl Asset Management, Jason Ader, the outbreak of Coronavirus has interestingly changed the situation for online casinos which were illegal in various Asian countries such as China and the Philippines, etc. Today, these online gambling venues have become legal in most of the Asian countries as the outbreak of Coronavirus has pushed gamblers to them.

During an interview with Squawk Box of CNBC, Ader further told that due to the holidays of the Lunar New Year the daily revenue of online casinos has increased by almost 90% than previous years due to this epidemic. This unbelievable rise in the number of online gamblers is due to the adverse effect of Coronavirus on land-based casinos. It has also raised issues between the operators of online casinos and that of land-based casinos as in most of Asia online gambling was unregulated and illegal until the outbreak of this viral health problem.

As top gaming analyst at Bear Stearns, Ader further added that gambling is still unregulated in Asian countries but the operators of land-based casinos such a castle casino are objecting to the diversion of gamblers to online destinations because it has affected their business to such great extent. Most of their customers have diverted to online casinos regardless of the country which has licensed them. According to him, this diversion of the gamblers for land-based casinos to online casinos in Asia is also a warning call for the operators of land-based casinos in the US as well as European countries.

 Though some of the casinos are still open in Macau, but while interacting with the customers their employees wear masks and have also displayed instructions about hygiene and cleaning on their entry and exit gates. The possibilities of closing their casino have been expressed by the chief executive of Macau, in case the outbreak spreads drastically.

 In China, by the morning of Wednesday over 6,000 cases of Coronavirus infection have been noticed, which is higher than the number of detected in the country during the outbreak of the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003. So far, nearly 3,000 Coronavirus infected people have been reported to die all over the world.

At this moment, a double-digit decline in the revenue of several land-based casinos in Macau including MGM Resorts, Wynn Resorts, and Las Vegas Sands has been reported due to diversion of their customers to online casinos due to Coronavirus. Almost 70-75% of the revenue of the Macau gambling world was generated by these gambling companies in routine.

Thus, Coronavirus has hit the US and UK Casino industry hard, not only in China but almost throughout the world.

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