Will the Coronavirus Cause an Uptick in US iGaming?

At the moment, a hot topic of discussion around the world is the coronavirus, or COVID-19. Most of the victims of the virus are from areas near Wuhan, China where the outbreak began, but the condition has quickly spread to other countries, including the United States. Casino gaming operators in Macau have already been affected and Las Vegas casinos are now planning on taking a hit due to international travel restrictions. So, this begs the question, will US online gambling see more traffic due to this outbreak?

Casino Traffic Slowing

In Las Vegas, operators like MGM Resorts and the Las Vegas Sands are preparing to see a decrease in gaming revenues as well as hotel stays as travelers shy away from going anywhere in fear of contracting the coronavirus. The virus has already spread to a few states in the US with the death toll now approaching double digits.

Earlier this week, the Wildhorse Resort & Casino in Oregon closed to complete a deep cleaning because an employee tested positive for the virus. This is the first casino closure in the US but will most likely not be the last. Casinos are high traffic areas and players are in close quarters, so it would be easy for a player to be affected by someone with the virus.

Over the next few weeks, it is expected that the number of virus cases as well as deaths from the condition will continue to increase. It is unclear if quarantine efforts will be made or if more gaming facilities will shutdown as a result. Only time will tell what will happen in this regard.

Online Gaming Uptick?

While players are not traveling, they can still access gaming via the internet. States like New Jersey, Nevada and Delaware, offer online poker and/or casino gaming. Pennsylvania also just started their online gaming services, so players have their pick of poker or casino games there as well. There is also sports betting options in several other states aside from these three. So, players will have options when it comes to playing.

The online gaming industry should be an uptick in player wagers as those who would normally travel to a casino will be staying home. It is a risk-free option and one that players are sure to take advantage of. The only problem is that players will have to be located in a state that offers services, or near a border that is easily accessible.

It is expected that players who are regulars at casinos in such regions as Atlantic City will opt for online casino gaming instead of playing at a facility on the Boardwalk. New Jersey already has a strong online gaming market so the virus may actually help the industry to continue to reach new milestones.

Online poker gaming usually sees an increase in gaming traffic when there are periods of bad weather. Because of the virus, we may actually see online poker gaming increase as well. People will stay home due to the virus and event those who do not play on a regular basis may get bored and decide to log online.

We shall see over the coming weeks and months just how the gaming industry as a whole in the United States is affected by the coronavirus. States across the nation are preparing to deal with the virus and we are still learning about new cases each and every day.

Rebecca Kont
Rebecca Kont

Rebecca lives in Las Vegas and after completing her degree at Reynolds Journalism school joined the USGS team to pursue her journalism dreams.