How have online casinos impacted on physical casinos?

surfing onlinecasinosThe internet has had a massive impact on every sector of industry across the world – from the way Amazon and eBay exploded onto the retail scene in the beginning, to the later adoption by established companies looking to move digital, nowadays everyone’s online! And nowhere is this more pronounced than in the gambling field.

Why go all the way to a casino when you could play Betfair casino card games from the comfort of your own home! But, much like Amazon and eBay have devastated the High Street, how has the move online affected land-based casinos, bookmakers and gambling houses?

Which is doing better?

Before we get started, we should ascertain whether or not one is more successful than the other, and we have plenty of data to support this hypothesis. The UK gambling commission provides us with some information that demonstrates the explosive growth of online casinos in recent years.

In fact, at the last measurement, online gambling made up 34% of the total share of gross gambling yield in Britain, second only to the lottery. The online sector grew 11% on the lead into 2017 and shows little signs of slowing down. In comparison, casinos have shown steady profits over the years with little growth but no major drops in revenue either. Between March 2017 and March 2018, only an additional two casinos opened in the UK.

This pattern is reflected worldwide, in areas where online casinos are legal they experience a noticeable upward trend, while in areas without them, land-based casinos (if they are legal) continue to rise or remain static. Which leads us to the next question…

Are online casinos killing land casinos?

It’s undeniable that the existence of online casinos has had an impact on land casinos in the USA: with the precarious state of legality when it comes to casinos in America, having an option that’s accessible from your home state and not explicitly illegal will draw significant attention. In fact, some owners of the major casino chains, have taken great issue with the prevalence of online – with one Sheldon Adelson, CEO of Las Vegas Sand, being a prime example.

Back in 2013, Adelson railed against online gambling calling it a toxic train-wreck and insisting that it was purely a moral issue and not because research he himself possessed revealed that online gambling was a likely reason for the reduced growth of land casinos throughout countries in Europe that allowed online gambling.

But, while the growth was reduced, there wasn’t a decline in profits and this is reflected in figures from both the UK and USA. It seems that while the popularity of online casinos has experienced meteoric rises, land casinos have remained relatively static without any real drop-off in attendance. There are a few good reasons why this might be the case.

The core thing keeping the two industries from directly cannibalising one another is that they are both aiming at different gaps in the market. For example:

Online Casino Market

  • The primary demographic for the online market consists of more casual gamers
  • With the advent of data roaming and free Wi-Fi, it became possible to play on the go and this mobile market constitutes a large section of the online player-base. As the players can start playing at anytime and anywhere, online casinos are effectively open 24 hours and allow gamers to play whenever they want. Whether it’s whilst they commute, at home, or when out and about, the ability to play anywhere is a definite draw
  • The flipside is that any game play will be a personal event – firing up an online casino in order to spin a few reels, or play a few hands of blackjack, the play itself is always a low-key and relaxed affair
  • The stakes are equally going to be fairly low, as you can simply bet a few pennies or a couple of quid and be away, you’re unlikely to be betting large sums at the online casino unless you really plan to make a day of it.

Land Casino Market

  • Whereas land casinos are more entertainment venues which are going to appeal to the hardcore gamblers
  • With large gaming areas, plenty of tables to play on and a classy atmosphere, the patrons of a land casino are more likely to dedicate an entire evening to playing and will be spending a lot of time dedicated to certain games
  • By its very nature, a casino is a social setting – you’ll be sharing the space with other casino fans and playing games with people, not to mention the dealers who’ll be handling your games. The personal touch of playing in the casino is very different from what you experience online and this is a draw for certain players
  • The other major difference, and the thing likely keeping land casinos so well positioned, is that high rollers will tend to play in large, well established land casinos. With fully comped hotel rooms and special presents from the management, the players who’ll bet thousands on a single hand will likely be playing in a land casino.

Which do you prefer? Do you still head to the casino every day to play your games or are you only playing casino games on mobile?

Let us know in the comments below!

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