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To be honest, it's not doing too bad. (Image via Unsplash)

The impact of the virus is changing everything in its wake.

This lockdown’s been like nothing before, and not in a good way. Intense loathing seems to be the general consensus. The COVID-19 epidemic has caged half of the world’s population in their homes and made sweatpants the top fashion trend of spring 2020. What’s more, millions of people have lost their jobs, and others are stressing over the threat of the infection.

Coronavirus-related death tolls on the news add to the anxiety. In times like these, everyone is craving distraction, an hour or two spent in the bliss of not thinking about what’s to come. No wonder Netflix’s stock is hitting an all-time high.

Online streaming isn’t the sole industry that grew in the quarantine, though. The truth is there are only so many hours you can spend browsing through the “Trending” section and losing yourself in the dramatic shenanigans of 16-year-old high school kids or another serial killer. With cinemas, bars, night clubs and restaurants unavailable, people are looking for something, anything, to add a touch of escapist excitement to the quarantine routine — cue online gambling. Not many businesses can proudly say they’ve grown since the beginning of March, but iGaming is one of them.

Online Gamblers Are Gambling More

For most people, the one good thing about the quarantine is that they have more free time now. Plus, they want to forget about the depressing reality. Not surprisingly, those who already gambled before the lockdown are doing it more. According to the Gambling Commission, compared to the past year, the number of bets grew 40% for virtual betting (like fantasy sports, for example), 25% for slots and 38% for online poker. That’s an impressive upgrade and a chance for the iGaming industry to grow despite the drop in real-event betting.

Obviously, part of the iGaming growth comes from the gamblers who used to spend their weekends in land-based casinos. The lockdown shut the doors of Vegas, and gambling lovers had to adapt. Online casino operators came in handy.

Experienced Online Gamblers Are Trying New Things

As much as iGaming is exciting, the thrill may eventually wear off unless you dare to try something new all the time. With the quarantine increase in online gambling, it’s only natural that regular online gamblers want to shake things up. Those who used to mostly enjoy online poker are trying slots. Slot lovers are getting into fantasy sports betting. Basically, everyone is diversifying their online gambling habits. Good for them.

Not Too Many New Gamblers Are Joining in on the Fun

The growth in online bets comes from people who had already been into online gambling by the time the quarantine started. iGaming platforms don’t see tons of newcomers flooding in. The miserable 0.2% of current active online gamblers got into iGaming since the beginning of the lockdown. That’s not surprising — it’s way easier for one to come back to what they know is fun than for someone strange to the thrill of online betting to get into it.

iGaming Providers Are Doing Their Best

Online casino operators are no fools. They know the quarantine is their lucky ticket and analyze player statistics religiously. So, while other businesses are cutting expenses to survive, providers in the iGaming industry are investing in user retention. They offer additional loyalty bonuses, add free spins and diversify their product lines with new games.

Everything, from traditional “fruit slots” to movie-themed 3D masterpieces are up for grabs. Besides, the level of player friendliness is higher than ever before, which means you get to try something new without spending a fortune on it. No one knows if this is the case after the world gets back to normal, so don’t miss out on the opportunity.

What’s Next?

Ah, don’t you just loathe this question? “Uncertainty” could be the one word to describe what’s happening in recent months. No one knows how everything we loved, from cinemas to sporting events to land-based casinos, is going to get over the COVID-19 blow. But the future looks brighter for online businesses, including the iGaming industry. It’s safe to say that casino operators will get out of the global quarantine stronger.

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