The casino business has always been known for its bright colors and high-stakes thrills. It’s a giant in the entertainment and hospitality industries, with thousands of patrons taking part every year. But when 2020 arrived, operations ground to a halt and forced even the most renowned casinos to shut their doors, at least for the time being. Las Vegas icons, like the Mirage and Encore at Wynn Las Vegas, surprised everyone when they announced their closure on the days following Christmas 2020. With so many hurdles in the way, how did casinos react?
Brick-and-Mortar Casinos Took a Huge Hit
During the first quarter of 2020, local live gaming venues were forced to close their doors to protect their patrons and employees. In Las Vegas, casinos stayed closed for a little over two months before it started welcoming casinos with safety restrictions. Despite the shiny plexiglass partitions and strict sanitation procedures, these Sin City casinos left much to be desired especially in terms of contact tracing.
In the time that has passed since, safety protocols have vastly improved. Live gaming venues are generally much safer than they were earlier in the year. Physical distancing rules are in place, sometimes with plexiglass to enforce it. Gaming tables are limited to three players at a time and onlookers are not allowed. Standalone handwashing stations have also been propped up all over the gaming floor. Some casinos are easing up the capacity from 25% to 35%, but it’s still a far cry from how things were. So how are casinos and other gaming venues aiming to make a profit?
Patrons Flock to Online Gaming Platforms
The answer: Online casinos. Since people were stuck at home, casino businesses opted to take the games to them. They invested in online gaming platforms to let their patrons play on the familiar slot machines and card games.
The allure of these online gaming platforms was undeniable, with plenty of returning customers, but also a surge in new players. There’s no surprise there, as the online casino presents a whole new level of convenience and flexibility for its players. Businesses have also assured their safety. With more and more clients gaming on online platforms, casino authorities have had to put down strict measures, such as limiting spin speeds on slots and permanent bans on features that speed up play. These ensured that the players were safe and had more control over their gaming experience.
And for those worried about the size of online winnings, just like in brick-and-mortar casinos there are plenty of ways to hit the jackpot online. There have even been payouts as big as $33m, reports Gala Spins’ post on the world’s biggest slot jackpots. Large jackpots and the benefit of playing in the comfort — and safety — of one’s home are currently the major selling points of online gaming platforms. Meanwhile, live gaming venues have implemented various rules and restrictions. Although they’re for the safety of the patrons, the edge goes to online platforms, at least for now.
The Future of Casinos
One’s thing’s for sure: While the world is still in its rocky state, the casino industry won’t be allowed to operate at full capacity. As such, businesses should adapt to the current climate by implementing contactless services and investing in robust sanitation tools. Developing their online services and gaming platforms was a wise move, clearly. However, as the world begins to open up to travel again, this will no longer be enough. Brick-and-mortar casinos need to make their patrons feel safe, while also providing them with a convenient and comfortable gaming experience. This will be the hallmark for success in the coming year.