In this global crisis, there is currently mostly bad news and less good news. While many people have already been infected and other people have died from COVID-19, it also disrupts public life around the world. Consequently, this also had an impact on casinos and poker events.
While “business as usual” was still applied everywhere for live games and casinos in January and early February, that changed very quickly as more and more countries introduced measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. As is well known, this includes the ban on flights, contact and assembly, and in some countries even strict house arrest. The effects on the gaming industry were then strong, which was clearly evident, for example, from the share prices of listed US casinos – all of them plummeting. The COVID-19 pandemic has indeed had a devastating effect on all live gambling. The American Gaming Association released statistics in mid-March that 95% of US casinos were closed.
Amazingly, the organizers of the World Series of Poker held back a very long time with the cancellation of the entire series. On the one hand understandable – hundreds of thousands of poker players from all over the world come to this tournament in Las Vegas every year and the date was still a bit in the future. On the other hand, it was completely incomprehensible that the organizer probably knew that the virus might spread very quickly in the hustle and bustle of the tournament and he must have seen how the rest of the world dealt with it. But at first it was stubbornly said that the WSOP would be postponed until later. Then, when it became clear that all flight connections around the world would soon be canceled because the virus was suddenly spreading extremely rapidly, the message finally came: All running WSOP tournaments have been canceled until further notice.
Other poker tournament series have also been gradually canceled. Even those that were already up and running, such as the Wynn Poker Classic and Foxwoods Poker Classic, have been closed and all other games have been suspended. The famous Casino King’s Resort in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, also responded to the epidemic, which had then already been declared a pandemic. At the beginning of March, people from Italy were no longer allowed to enter the casino or one of the affiliated hotels. Other tournaments in Europe’s largest poker room with 160 poker tables, however, initially continued as usual. Only measures introduced by the state finally ended these activities. On the other side of the world, in Australia, all casinos, pubs, hotels and other entertainment facilities had to close for at least six months on March 23. And on the 30th On March 1st, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered his country to close all casinos, bingo halls and even betting shops with immediate effect and indefinitely. On March 21, it was announced that well-known poker player David “Doc” Sands had tested positive for the virus. Sands is a high paying online poker tournament winner.
The modern age brings good news to the gaming industry
It goes without saying that the global restrictions on daily life have an impact on society and the economy. But luckily we live in the 21st century! If this pandemic had hit the world 25 years ago, it would have had a much more severe impact on society and the economy. At that time, the Internet and thus all related activities were, from today’s perspective, really still in their infancy. Home office, online gaming, etc. could not be implemented on a large scale.
A quarter of a century later, the world and society have changed quite a bit and online casinos have now developed well as an industry and are producing remarkable revenues. More than ever, they offer society an opportunity to distract itself. There is hardly a better time to learn casino games online than now! And current statistics show that online casinos are actually experiencing a real boom. China and Italy are right at the forefront. The relevant media are even reporting on a new poker boom. The online providers report increases of 16 to around 70% in new customers, depending on the country and the status of the measures imposed and the severity of the infection. The Austrian Win2day.at online poker platform reports an increase in new registrations of more than 200%.
Since it is now no longer possible to take part in sports betting, the tendency to counter boredom is moving to online gambling. A look at the Google search statistics shows that many more people are searching for relevant search terms. Since professional gamblers certainly don’t search for these terms, they must be recreational gamblers. These can either be people who are looking for alternatives to the live game, or those who discover the online casinos in the boredom at home.
Indeed, now is the perfect time to check out online casinos, learn to play , hone your skills and practice for the time after that. Online poker players in particular can benefit greatly from this situation.
Poker professionals in times of the coronavirus
Poker professionals also benefit from it, of course. As with professionals in other areas of the sport, it is important to keep fit. Poker pros and professional casino players have a clear advantage here these days – the online tournament is booming like never before. Many of the better known online poker providers host attractive poker events with astonishingly high prizes. One tournament made headlines in the poker world: The PokerStars Sunday Million Special Event. Players could register with an entry fee of $ 215 and play for $ 12.5 million in guaranteed prize money over three days of the tournament. Ultimately, 93,016 players took part in the event, making it the largest online poker event to date, with a total prize pool of 18.6 million US dollars.
Other major poker series also hosted online poker tournaments. GGPoker hosted a tournament with a guaranteed prize pool of $ 400,000 and a small buy-in of $ 150 as part of its GGMasters series. The hands of the WSOP are tied as online poker is illegal in most states in the United States. All they could do was offer a special series of games on their WSOP.com website that only players in New Jersey, Delaware and Nevada could play. In this series, a tournament was played every day in March. In the USA, the poker community is hoping that the corona pandemic will also drive one thing forward: the nationwide legalization of online poker.