How has the Coronavirus affected gambling in India?
The global pandemic has affected industries across the globe as lockdowns have been put in place. Even the casino industry has been affected by this, with the closure of landbased casinos. But it is not all negative: With the closure, more players have found their way online to keep gambling. Here we give an update on how the Coronavirus has affected gambling in India so far.
Landbased Casinos are struggling
On the 15th of March, landbased casinos in Goa had to close down. The following week a nationwide shutdown was put in place. For now, there is no plan to reopen casinos in Goa anytime soon, as reported by the Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. This has, of course, made quite an impact on the operators of casinos in Goa and across the Indian subcontinent.
Earlier this month, a Goa casino operator asked for government help to deal with the financial crisis this has brought them. Casino Pride Group, the operator of three out of six floating casinos in Goa, called for an income tax break and EPF and ESIC contribution of all employees.
How things are looking now, land-based casinos might be able to open up in September, but nothing is confirmed.
Online casinos have seen an increase
With land-based casinos closed and a nationwide lockdown, there has been more time for players in India to explore online casinos. This has resulted in more sign-ups and user engagement reported by several casino sites.
An operator, Paytm Games, has reported getting 100,000 new daily users during the three-month period starting in March. Players are also spending big on the games. First-time players increased by 25%, with about 40% of people spending large amounts of money.
Sportsbetting is mostly paused due to suspended events
Online casino games might have seen an increase in players, but the sports betting part of the casino operators have understandably taken a hit. With sporting events being cancelled all over the world, gamblers have found themselves without much to bet on.
Especially Cricket is a popular sport to bet on in India. The 2020 Indian Premier League was set to commence on March 29th, but with the lockdown, this was postponed to April. When the government lockdown was extended on April 14th, the tournament was suspended indefinitely.
What will the future hold?
It is not clear what the future will hold when it comes to gambling in India. While some measures in the lockdown have started to loosen up, landbased casinos are still not allowed to open up to the public.
There is no certain date when it can be open again, and there is also no clear dates on when many major sporting events and tournaments will continue again. This leaves gambling online for now, where players can continue to have the same casino fun in a safe environment.
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