The future for land-based casinos is very bright. However, it will shine brighter if the land-based casinos embrace online gambling.
The future for land-based casinos is very bright. However, it will shine brighter if the land-based casinos embrace online gambling.

Covid -2019 vs. land-based casinos in South Africa

By IOL Time of article published Sep 4, 2020

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Since the outbreak of the Covid-19, the industry’s future appears bleak, especially for the land-based casinos in South Africa.

South Africa’s land-based casino industry is one of the largest in Africa. Whether the losses incurred will be recovered is a tale for another day.

Let’s take a glance at other businesses that were hit by the pandemic too.

Businesses hit by coronavirus

It is almost impossible to mention any business that was not affected by the outbreak of the coronavirus. Companies around the world suffered one loss or the other.

Most analysts are quick to state that online businesses were not affected. To some extent, they escaped with small losses. However, industries that had to do with customer interaction were the most hit.

The industries that were worst hit are:

  • Recreation
  • Entertainment
  • Hospitality
  • Tourism and Aviation
  • Oil and gas
  • Real estate and construction

These businesses can’t strive without interfacing with their customers. For instance, land-based casinos make money when customers visit their halls to play some casino games or enjoy other recreational activities.

Companies that had no online presence suffered the most. Some companies also had an online presence but required a physical interface to carry out their services, such as the home maintenance industry like plumbing, decor, and so on.

How did the land-based casinos survive during the lockdown?

There is no land-based casino in South Africa that has a pleasant tale of how they survived during the lockdown. The only option to stay afloat for most land-based casinos was to lay off their staff. This is obviously not good in any way.

Going by the information out there, most land-based casinos did the following to survive:

  • Sell the right issues
  • Partner with other businesses
  • Loans

It is hard to imagine the huge losses they recorded and how they also survived through the lockdown. Some of these measures mentioned appear to be for the short term.

Also, no news suggests the government gave out grants or soft loans to land-based casinos. The only feasible way out was via their online presence. In other words, land-based casinos with online sites may have made some profit from their online customers. Studies have shown that most gamblers reverted to online gambling since they couldn’t access land-based casinos.

South African online casinos growth

The volume of online casinos operating from South Africa is not as much as you would expect. Although there are so many online casinos that accept players from South Africa, not all of them operate from the country. This is a huge disadvantage to the growing casino market. More so, the revenues that ought to be earned by the government will be flown abroad.

Some analysts believe that some government policies are affecting the growth of online casinos in South Africa. Notwithstanding government policies, land-based casinos are still swimming in their past glory. The sooner they wake up to the current trend of online gambling, the better for their businesses.

Consequently, the best South African online casinos don’t necessarily have to operate from South Africa. As a player, your concern should be their modus operandi. For instance, you need to look out for the following features before you register:

  • License
  • Customer support
  • Security measures
  • Banking options
  • Games and software developers

These features guarantee some level of safety. Amazingly, there are various online South African casinos with these features mentioned above. Therefore, the online casino market is picking its pace, but it’s certainly not growing as fast as most experts have predicted.

New rules and restrictions for opened land-based SA casinos

No doubt, the Covid-19 pandemic has affected our lives and how businesses operate. The land-based casinos were not left out. Initially, it appeared like a tough decision for the government to order the reopening of the land-based casinos in South Africa.

However, to keep the customers and the entire public safe, the government had to come up with specific rules and restrictions. Take a look at the rules and regulations below:

  • Physical Barriers: Land-based casinos must erect physical barriers between each customer and their staff too. These barriers are supposed to eliminate any form of physical contact.
  • Sale of alcoholic beverages: Land-based casinos are no longer permitted to sell alcoholic beverages within their premises. However, consumption of alcohol is also prohibited within the casino halls.
  • Smoking: The new regulation banned the smoking of any substance inside the casino halls.
  • Operating every second slot machine: Land-based casinos in SA are no longer allowed to operate every second slot machine. Also, there must be physical barriers separating each slot machine.
  • Limit to the number of tables: Casinos halls will not be allowed to operate all their tables. In most cases, only 50% of the tables are allowed to function. The aim is to create social distancing.
  • Face mask and shield: Both customers and staff have to wear a face mask or shield inside the casino.
  • Seating arrangement: Usually, land-based casinos are crowded, and such may cause the spread of the CoronaVirus. Casinos have to adjust their seating arrangement to avoid people crowding.

The future of land-based casinos in South Africa?

The future for land-based casinos is very bright. However, it will shine brighter if the land-based casinos embrace online gambling. Even before the pandemic, many players preferred to stay in the comfort of their homes to gamble.

Besides, the advantages of playing casinos online are numerous. Consequently, if the land-based casinos don’t start switching to online gambling, they may experience huge losses in the future.

Finally, like a tech giant once said, any business that doesn’t have an online presence in the next 10 years will stop existing.

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