Land-based casinos and betting shops across the UK have been heavily affected by the lockdowns, and it seems unlikely that they will be allowed to reopen anytime soon. Fortunately for people who enjoy playing casino games and betting on sports, there are now hundreds of casinos and sportsbooks to choose from on the internet – and there can be several benefits to playing online.
The casino industry faces an uncertain future. With new regulations and shutdowns, some worry that land-based casinos and betting shops will be forced to close their doors for good, killing thousands of jobs in the process. Genting, an industry giant with thousands of employees and more than 40 casinos across the UK, reported in July that they might need to cut 1,600 jobs. The company is also considering shutting down three of its casinos in the country.
If the current restrictions remain in place for several months, it is reasonable to assume that more and more gamblers will switch to playing online. The UKGC’s latest survey on gambling in Wales showed that only 5% of respondents participated in online gambling in 2018, while more than half of the population participated in other forms of gambling, including playing in the national lottery and buying scratch cards.
Advantages of online casinos and sportsbooks
There are many advantages of playing at an online casino instead of visiting the local casino, especially during the current pandemic. In a real casino with hundreds of guests, it is nearly impossible to practice safe social distancing. Furthermore, players handle a lot of chips and play on slot machines that have been played by many people before them. Many players, particularly younger adults, made the switch to online casinos years ago. In addition to being safer, there are several advantages to playing slots and betting on sports online:
Higher payouts: Online casino games generally have higher payout percentages (return to player) than land-based games. Most online slots have an RTP percentage of between 94-98%, whereas land-based slots can have an RTP of 85-90%. This essentially means that players are more likely to win when playing online games compared to land-based casino games. The same is true for sports betting: because of the tough competition online, online sportsbooks generally offer higher odds than physical betting shops.
Bigger game selection: The majority of online casinos offer hundreds or even thousands of slots, table games and other types of casino games. Games are provided by third-party game studios like NetEnt, Microgaming and Blueprint. In addition, many of the slots you know and love from the local casinos have been brought online, which means you can enjoy your favourite slots from the comfort of your own – often with better payouts too.
Bonuses: Bonuses are one of the biggest advantages of playing at online casinos. A casino bonus gives you more to play with, which in turn can increase your chances of winning. However, it’s important to keep in mind that virtually every casino bonuses have wagering requirements and specific bonus terms and conditions.
Will land-based casinos and betting shops come back in full strength, or will we see a rise in online gambling in 2021 and beyond? Only time will tell.