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The Future of Brick & Mortar Casinos in an Online World
As the online casino industry continues to boom in an increasingly virtual world, there are growing concerns about the threat they pose to land-based casinos. Many people would prefer to sacrifice the convenience of gambling on their phone or in the bathroom for the experience of playing in a real, brick-and-mortar casino. Fortunately, casinos have been around for centuries and don’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Since the first known gambling houses emerged in Europe around the 17th century, casinos have persisted through shifting laws and regulations, unpredictable times, and economic depressions. In order to survive, brick-and-mortar casinos have had to rapidly adapt their businesses to new environments, changing attitudes, and a variety of other factors. As we find ourselves yet again in times of uncertainty, land-based casinos will undoubtedly experience more changes to adjust to these trying times. Here are just some of the changes we may see in casinos in the coming years.
Health and Safety
COVID-19 has had a massive impact on all brick-and-mortar businesses, not the least of which have been casinos. During the initial outbreak, nearly all casinos in the U.S. were shut down for months, costing states over $2 billion in lost tax revenue alone. Currently, most casinos have been able to reopen so long as they adhere to the state’s guidelines on health and safety.
As with most businesses, casinos must now prioritize social distancing, enforce mask policies, and improve their sanitization protocols. This includes cleaning chips and wiping down other commonly touched surfaces such as casino slot machines more frequently. As more people get vaccinated and the global economy recovers, land-based casinos are sure to see a return to business as usual. That being said, some sanitary practices such as washing chips and wiping equipment regularly are likely here to say.
Online and Virtual Reality Gambling
Even before the pandemic, online gambling was already cementing itself as an easy and convenient way to bet money on your home computer or even your phone. The demand for virtual casinos has only increased in the past few years, making some casino owners sweat. As the internet continues to shape our lives and the world around us, in-person casinos will have to adapt and compete with the growing industry of online gambling.
Some of the ways we’ve seen land-based casinos begin to compete and adapt include launching their own gambling websites, live-dealer experiences, and virtual reality. These activities allow players to gamble from the comfort of their own homes without the casinos losing out on the profit. While we have yet to see the full potential of virtual reality, casinos are beginning to use the emerging technology to their advantage by bringing the casino experience to your home.
For a while now, casinos have realized that they can’t rely solely on gambling to draw in and entertain their guests. That is why many casinos also advertise world-class dining and luxury resorts to entice visitors. As the rise of online gambling continues to encroach on their business, land-based casinos will have to offer a more diverse and exciting array of entertainment options to keep up.
More and more casinos are already transforming their facilities into vacation hotspots by incorporating shops, restaurants, live performances, and other tourist attractions into their resorts. Some have even started to include attractions like zoos to hopefully reel in more people. As time progresses, we should expect to see an evolution in casinos becoming more generalized entertainment centers.
While digital slot machines and video poker have been available in most casinos for the better part of the last decade, recently, casinos have been adopting newer, more skill-based video games to appeal to a younger demographic. Casinos have seen the stranglehold video games have on younger audiences and are hoping to capitalize on this with their own video-based gambling games.
These gambling videogames are primarily offered online only. Still, it’s only a matter of time before we see a huge increase in arcade-like gambling machines on the gaming floor of casinos. In the near future, you may be visiting a casino to bet money on your performance in one of your favorite e-sport games.