As the majority of shops and restaurants have seen July as a chance to re-open their doors and try to revive their businesses, it seems that for a few there is to be no quick reprieve. Restaurants will have ‘Eat Out 50% match’ in August, Shops have American Express boosting them with ‘Shop small’ and Bowling Alleys, Casinos and the like have … well … two more weeks to see what happens next.
While the outbreaks in Europe have done nothing to settle nerves, this latest decision by Boris Johnson on the 31st July 2020 comes against the drop in notable cases with the UK borders, however the presence of a resurfaced threat is just too powerful to ignore. With many casinos and amusement arcades having already prepared for a very different reality to the one that they already knew, from a reduction in visitors to strict social distancing mandates, the thought of another two weeks without any discernible income and having swallowed the costs of the changes in-house may be all too much to bear. Many will argue that this is for the public good or that these types of premises were already going to struggle and fold under the burgeoning new pressures, but the alternative is that the government is forced to keep paying their losses and contributing to their furloughed staff with no opportunity to reignite cash flows.
So what will casinos do? Since March when lockdown become the ‘new normal’, online casinos have cleaned up with punters and made huge gains in terms of new customers – leaving many brick and mortar establishments to wonder how they will ebb the flow of customers to ‘safer settings.’ While online casinos can lack the atmosphere that a real casino can offer, these new sterile settings will not help them to woo back their fanbase. What’s more, the staggering advances of companies like Evolution Gaming and NetEnt who have piled cash into their live casino and gaming offerings to allow players to experience the ‘live atmospheric feel’, will make this even harder. How can an offline casino outside the major Vegas strip or Macau compete with the financial prowess of an online casinos with significantly reduced overheads, not to mention the ability to offer thousands of games that fit onto your computer screen – and state of the art new releases like Crazy Time, the most expensive casino game ever made, where players can win lottery-style amounts from the comfort of their living room.
Perhaps many of these old casino establishments have seen the end of an era and are best shutting down the house – or maybe they take a leaf out of the modern book – partner with an online casino and market to their existing database in the short-term, offering them a financial boost in what has become a nightmare year and potentially a long-term revenue stream before those same players all begin to look elsewhere. Whatever the case, we wish the casinos the best of luck and hope that the next update from Boris Johnson will help them get back on their feet – after all – the house always wins!