Coronavirus pandemic has reached the whole world. The leading countries and industries have been the victims of the virus epidemic just like people of the whole world. The virus which was discovered almost 5 months ago, in China has now reached every single country. It is not the only threat to people but for the global economy and many industries as well.
One of the major industries that is affected by the virus is the gambling industry. Casinos, as the major socializing places, were shut in almost every country where the emergency situation was announced. Moreover, some other countries and states have also been shutting down the casinos in order to avoid any further spread of the virus. The states or cities that have not done so yet, are implementing serious restriction to keep the social distance and safety between people.
The UK, as one of the world’s leading countries, was not expected to make any sudden moves, though the severe situation in the country outlined the trajectory. The country announced full lockdown by the end of the previous week and thus every non-essential business has been closed. People are encouraged to stay home and do the activities from there.
Due to the massive virus outbreak, the land-based gambling industry has suffered a lot. Many casinos might not even survive and come back to life, well, at least definitely not all of the employees will be able to make their way back to work, unfortunately.
While everything this happens to the outer space, the online gambling industry has already reached the records and is flourishing day by day. people who are left at home in the quarantine and let’s say, do not have much to do at all, fund the ways for their favorite activity online. Thus, online gambling and betting have become the new black.
The UK urges cap
While the Covid-19 has spread all over the world and has affected all major industries, it has not skipped the sports either. Due to the outbreak, all major events were whether canceled or postponed. This brings another issue. What should the fans and punters do now? They do not have any mainstream sports neither they have anywhere to go. In the UK most of the punters start to bet on more risky wagers. Because of thesis, they started to bet with more money and lose more consequently. While the home sitting is definitely not the best thing you can do, spend a lot of money during the upcoming global economic crisis is definitely not a must either.
Members of Parliament have implored online gambling firms to impose a temporary betting cap of £50 a day during the Covid-19 crisis, as evidence emerged that they are pushing punters towards riskier wagers in the absence of the mainstream sport.
The major events, such as Premier League and Grand National are all canceled. Thus, the operators are now promoting obscure sporting competitions. Together with that the promotions also include e-sports, online casino games and many more. Shortly, plenty of fascinating things.
William Hill’s senior manager sent the email addressing the gambling companies. It was advised to promote some remaining sports and comprehensive tournaments. It was also mentioned in the email that betting companies had better explain to costumers what were the other betting opportunities. Japanese baseball and table tennis could have been a clear example of that.
The company has also posted social media adverts from its US Twitter account offering bets on “international soccer action”, meaning the Belarus Premier League.
More Bets More Costumers
Firms including 32Red are advertising on Twitter in a bid to win more custom for online casino games, which have much higher rates of addiction than sports betting. Both Betway, recently hit with a record £11.6m fine over problem gambling failures, and MansionBet has paid-for Google listings promoting “virtual” events, where customers bet on computer-generated football matches.
Even the Spanish man, who was the initiator of the Fifa computer game international tournament, has asked gambling companies to stop promoting the sports championships. Moreover, he asked them to stop allowing betting on odds of sports international championship.
In fact, the gambling companies did not have intention of promoting any sports tournament and virtual races, but with the cancellation of most of the major events all across the world, amidst Covid-19, they still needed something to survive. Undoubtfully, this is not the best choice though.
In a letter to industry trade body the Betting & Gaming Council, MPs in a cross-party group examining gambling-related harm urged firms not to put protection of their finances before customers’ wellbeing.
“We are deeply concerned that as we go deeper into this crisis, more and more people will turn to online gambling as a distraction,” wrote Labour’s Carolyn Harris, the Conservatives’ Iain Duncan Smith, and SNP MP Ronnie Cowan.
“If the industry were to self-impose a daily limit of £50 … it would be a clear demonstration that the industry is willing to act responsibly and do what they can to protect society and peoples’ finances, at this dreadful time.”
According to experts, people who are more vulnerable towards gambling disorders will now be sitting at home and are prone to betting on events whose outcome they cannot possibly estimate. Thus the MPs also asked companies to control the accounts carefully and ban the costumers who are willing to open multiple accounts. Most probably those costumers will be at higher risk for gambling disorders.
Matt Gaskell, clinical lead for the NHS northern gambling clinics, said: “In our clinics, some of the most harmful gambling is that which diversifies to betting on things our patients know nothing about.
“The industry continues to do all it can to increase profits, keep gamblers immersed and in continual play, at the expense of people’s lives.”
Harris said: “If they’re targeting someone to bet on this kind of sport or computer-generated events, it can only be because that person is someone with a problem, to be gambling on something that obscure.
“It’s the industry trying to capitalize on a national disaster, encouraging problem gambling with reckless and foolhardy behavior.”
Co-chair Duncan Smith added: “It’s pretty appalling that in the midst of all this difficulty and suffering, gambling companies are so desperate to ensure that those who gamble can continue to throw their money away that they direct them to all sorts of little-known and little-watched sports.”
There has also been concern among industry employees that shops remained open for too long before they were eventually ordered to close by Boris Johnson.
In the same email that offered advice on which sports to offer bets on, sent last week, William Hill staff were told it was “business as usual” in the bookmakers’ high street stores.
William Hill said money taken from gamblers betting on Fifa football events had been donated to charity and that it had reduced its marketing spend since the crisis. It said it was being “extra sensitive” with its marketing messages.