The pandemic particularly hit the gambling, casinò, and game industry in Italy. Finally, it’s time to reopen.
Casinos in Italy and gambling halls have been closed for over a year. They have paid economic consequences, from the loss of profits to the loss of jobs. Finally, the gambling industry sees the light at the end of the tunnel. Indeed, casinos and gambling halls are poised to reopen. It started on Monday June, 14th, with the reopening of 13 rooms. With Italy becoming more and more white, people return to normal, everyday life.
This includes casinos and gambling. For example, over 2600 AWP stores will reopen in Sardinia and 200 between betting and bingo halls. In Friuli Venezia Giulia, the white zone since the beginning of June, where players can have fun and bet safely.
The pandemic effect on casinos in Italy
Covid-19 did not spare any sector, but the gaming sector has particularly suffered. This is because brick-and-mortar casinos in Italy and gaming halls were the last to reopen. They were also among the last to be considered by the Italian government.
In 2020, the Sanremo casino lost over 20 million euros in proceeds, about 46% of profits. The Ca’Noghera casino in Venice reported a loss of 27 million, almost a third of its revenue in 2019 (which had been 93 million). The entire gambling industry has suffered. In fact, the Italian Treasury has lost over 4.5 billion. Legal and physical gambling dropped by 35%, while online and illegal gambling increased.
The sector includes betting companies, slots and bingo halls, which in total reported a decline of 43%. While brick and mortar casinos and gaming sales have lost profits, the online world has exploded, for better or for worse.
The boom of the online world
Gamers preferred the smartphone and the computer. In fact, the online gaming market has seen a 39% increase in spending, or 2.5 billion. Between June and October 2020, online gaming boomed by 108%, or € 255 million. In March 2020 (the first month of the Italian lockdown), the virtual world grossed over 100 million, an increase of 30% compared to 2018.
Players have chosen not only online casinos in Italy. But also betting, online card games and slot machines. Sometimes sacrificing legality for the simple stake of playing.
What to expect in 2021
The explosion of the online gambling world is evident from the 2020 numbers. But the forecasts for 2021 look equally rosy. In fact, despite the reopening of the physical rooms, fans will continue to play virtually. In the coming years, experts expect further growth of at least 20%. This trend is mainly due to mobile gaming. Fans can play on their smartphone, with simple clicks. Hence, online gaming will continue to grow.
How many players will return to physical casinos and gambling halls?
Certainly, the physical establishments will be able to make up for part of the losses, as evidenced by the reopening of the Sanremo Casino, with players lining up to play the slots. The other side of the coin shows the costs that the physical factories had to incur. In fact, they had to install Plexiglas barriers and have to bear the costs of sanitizing the premises. In short, the players return but costs due to Covid remain.
Which sectors will they lose and which ones will they collect? With the reopening in June, we will have to wait at least until the end of the summer to find out if the physical casinos and gambling halls will be able to recover after the pandemic effect. This time it’s really hard to bet on the winning horse.