Influence Of Covid-19 On Online Gambling In South Africa

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by Joanna Bruce
| 19/01/2021
Influence Of Covid-19 On Online Gambling In South Africa

Without a doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has taken the planet by storm, wreaking havoc on world economies, our social lives and health. South Africa has also been affected by the novel coronavirus and official numbers issued by the South African Department of Health speak of the country facing the largest number of Covid-19 cases on the continent, totalling more than 1,31 million cases from the start of the pandemic, 1.06 million recovered patients and a death toll of over 36,000 people as of January 2021.

The first coronavirus case was officially recorded in South Africa at the beginning of March 2020 and, on the 15th of March, President Ramaphosa declared the national state of disaster as well as the nationwide lockdown beginning with the 26th of the same month. The consequences of this new state of things were much more complex and serious than anyone could anticipate. South Africa, together with other Africa countries suffered a recession. The fact that the nation's economy was already facing a so-called technical recession prior to the start of the lockdown only contributed to the country quickly slipping into a full-blown recession.

It is estimated that around 2.2 million jobs were lost because of the new situation caused by the lockdown. At the beginning of it, several brick-and-mortar casino operators and other gambling companies were shut down. Punters and gamblers were only left with the choice of online real money casinos and online sportsbooks.

What Happened With Real Money Casinos During Lockdown?

During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown, lots of casino ads started to air more frequently. The same goes for ads for online casinos on TV and social media channels. These operators started losing serious money and it was logical for them to try to attract gamblers online.

SA television ads also witness a spike in the number of gambling advertisements promoting online betting and gambling alternatives to the now completely shut down land versions.

While land casinos possess the greatest market share in South Africa, they have gradually started to lose their share to the detriment of virtual casinos for a while. This change because even more once the COVID-19 pandemic took over and forced brick-and-mortar casinos to shut down. Moreover, according to data from ‘The South African Gambling Industry in South Africa’ for 2020, while classic forms of gambling are dealing with unforeseen losses, online casinos for real money reported incredible surges in their activity ever since the lockdown was forced beginning 27th of March 2020.

Those land sportsbooks and casinos in South Africa that had managed to build a strong and visible presence in the online environment managed to cope with the harsh lockdown conditions a lot better compared to those operators that did not have platforms online.

While consumers were forced to spend less on those pastimes and goods considered not to be vital or necessary, casino gambling included, online casinos continued to witness an important growth during the lockdown. What changed was the way players regarded their safety online and the type of casinos online for real money they were willing to join and give their money to. The general focus was on trying to steer clear from online fraud and illegal online casinos and only register and wager on trustworthy, licensed, and 100% legal casinos. If you are currently looking for reliable, fresh, and relevant casino reviews for players in South Africa, take a look at the current recommendations that we have compiled for you. You can still enjoy quality online casino games, rewarding casino bonuses that are now more important than ever when trying to save money while still being able to engage in a fun activity that can help you better cope with the mental stress triggered by the pandemic.

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Current Situation: Covid-19 Pandemic And Online Casinos For Real Money SA

At the moment, there is a new variant of the coronavirus in circulation in South Africa and it has also been reported in other parts of the world, including the United Kingdom. The South African variant of the virus is called 501.V2 and it carries the E484K mutation, which makes the virus a lot more contagious. This will, undoubtedly, cause even more difficulties in stopping its spread in the country, in spite of the undeniable attempts and struggles of the authorities. Top scientists in the country stated that the population of SA has most likely created a form of collective immunity to the virus soon after the number of new cases suddenly dropped after the huge outbreak in the summer.

It is believed that the virus has managed to stimulate a certain level of immunity in 12 up to 15 million residents on the country. There is concern regarding the way the anti-covid vaccines will work in relation to the new form of the virus found in SA. As the country has slowly opened and businesses started resuming their activities, brick-and-mortar casinos and various other betting operators also started opening their doors. People are once again allowed to visit these establishments, while still following strict health precautions and guidelines. The government has recommended limited gatherings set at around 50% of the normal capacity inside land casinos. Patrons must maintain a safe distance of at least 1.5 meters from one other and wear masks at all times. There are also specific regulations concerning the number of tales and players sitting around them, with physical barriers placed in between the slot machines.

What The Future Looks Like

The shift towards e-commerce and the digitization of lots of sectors is unstoppable in SA and the pandemic has accelerated the switch consumers living their lives online to an even greater extent. As long as the pandemic will continue and we will continue to be asked to socially distance ourselves, consumers’ habits and attitudes will continue to evolve. Online casinos for real money dedicated to players in South Africa will, therefore, keep representing the safer and more convenient alternative for gamblers looking to distance themselves physically. And this online trend seems to be here to stay in the future as well, as brick-and-mortar casinos need to embrace virtual forms of gambling in order to keep surviving and thriving.

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