Las Vegas casinos make big money. The Las Vegas Sands Corporation which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo took in nearly $14 billion in 2019 and this would include slot machines, table games, and sports betting. However, 2020 was a different story.
When the pandemic hit, casinos and sportsbooks were forced to close. This led to a huge drop in revenue for traditional, land-based establishments but opened up new possibilities for the online gambling industry.
The Tote in the UK was closed, Vegas became a ghost town, sportsbooks shut their doors, bingo halls had to suspend their activities, internet activity went through the roof. More people than ever used their smartphones to access the net and play casino games and place bets on whatever sports events were continuing.
This can partly explain why the future of sports betting may reside online. However, many other factors will affect how people gamble in the future.
There is a new type of sport emerging
Video games are hugely popular and it is believed that around three-quarters of the United States’ population enjoys playing some form of this activity. That equates to around 2.5 billion people in the world actively playing video games and a way to turn this into a spectator sport has already been established.
Many eSport events are happening around the world and these bring in large audiences. Epic Games held their first Fortnite World Cup in 2019 with a grand prize of $3 million. The eventual winner was a 16 year old from Pennsylvania who made headlines around the world but there was something else news-worthy about the event, the size of the audience.
Epic Games proved that there was a genuine market for eSports with over 2 million people streaming the event live. While traditional casinos are already making arenas for eSports events to capture some of this revenue, online sports betting is already in position, ready to grab its share.
It stands to reason that out of all the billions of video game players and the millions who watch esports there will be a large number of people who also gamble. With the events already being internet-based it also stands to reason that whoever wants to place a bet will do so online.
Virtual horse racing
While eSports has created a new genre in the sporting field, the kaszinó industry is also busy recreating existing sports but in a virtual setting.
Virtual horse and dog racing has been used in traditional bookmaker shops for some time but with advances in technology and superior graphics, they are now attracting a new audience.
There are many benefits to virtual racing of any kind. Races will never be called off due to Covid, they are running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, betting can be done at home, and it is possible to enjoy them as a group activity.
One area that many firms are getting involved in is race nights. These virtual horse racing events use social media, notably Zoom, to ‘televise’ the events in someone’s home or another venue. They can cater for up to 50 people meaning that small groups can enjoy this form of online sports betting or they can be part of a larger event, perhaps for charity.
Big companies are getting more involved
When it comes to online gambling people want to find the most reliable betting sites and these days there are huge, well-known brand names attached to casinos and sportsbooks.
If you want to play slot machines or poker online you can do so under the MGM banner. If you want to place a bet on basketball you can do this at Paddy Power. There are hundreds of online casinos available now along with sportsbooks ready to take your bet in a safe and secure environment.
All online casinos and sportsbooks are regulated and licensed and can be considered safe. If you see virtual sports available online along with slots and blackjack then you can consider this to be a regulated website.
The landscape is changing
Another reason that sports betting is heading online is that is where the gambling industry feels the future lies. It is no coincidence that so many traditional gambling establishments are closing. In the UK, bingo halls have been shut down for good, William Hill closed over a hundred bookmakers, and even Genting has announced casino closures.
When the owner of the biggest casino hotel in the world announces it is closing casinos then it is clear that something is happening. While Covid has been blamed for many closures it is not due to a lack of gamblers. It is clear to see that the online gambling industry is still growing.
Online casinos and sportsbooks are highly visible and accessible
Where someone may have to travel a considerable distance to reach their nearest casino they can just pick up a smartphone and start playing. To place a bet on football would have meant a trip to the nearest sportsbook in the past but now it’s a few clicks away.
This convenience means that online sports betting and casino games are becoming more popular than visiting traditional establishments. They are also attracting a younger market who may not have ever visited a high street bookmaker but who are happy to bet online.
While search engines such as Google help people to find websites to gamble on, the sports industry understands the importance of sponsorship from casinos and sportsbooks, While some people are concerned about the ethics of gambling firms advertising with sports teams it has helped increase the visibility of these websites.
As going online to place a bet on sports becomes ever more convenient it seems that the traditional bookmaker will become less seen in urban areas. You can expect to see more virtual sports emerge including basketball, football, and motor racing. Esports will emerge and become bigger and gambling on these events will become more popular.
While there are still laws in place prohibiting sports betting in many countries and regions, online sportsbooks will take advantage and gain new customers and continue to grow.