- Las Vegas casinos are preparing for re-launch next week
- Online poker booming during the COVID-19 crisis
- Sports betting industry coming back to life
COVID-19 pandemic was the dominant topic in the casino news last week. It’s no surprise, considering that the damage done by the coronavirus crisis has cost the industry billions of dollars. The good news is that the crisis is almost over, with casinos going back to business all around the United States. Last week, we saw casinos reopening in a number of states, including California, Florida, Oklahoma, and a few others. Next week, Las Vegas casino reopening is on the program.
Las Vegas Casinos Getting Ready for Reopening on June 4
After being on a hiatus for more than two months, Las Vegas casinos are reopening next week. The date when they will be allowed to open their doors to the public is June 4. That is going to be a special day for the residents in Nevada, a number of whom have lost their jobs during the lockdown.
Big casinos on the Strip are planning to mark this occasion. Bellagio, for instance, will celebrate the Las Vegas casino reopening with three water shows. The Fountains of Bellagio will play the national anthem to celebrate the country’s resilience through the crisis. The song “Simple Gifts” will be played as a tribute to essential workers, while Elvis Presley’s “Viva Las Vegas” will celebrate the spirit of the city that had been dormant for too long.
Once Las Vegas casinos return to business, things aren’t going to be as before. In order to ensure social distancing, they will have to take certain measures. Maintaining hygiene inside the venues goes without saying, but there are many other measures casinos will have to take. Casinos will have to limit the number of players, check the visitor’s temperature at the entry, and so on.
Things Aren’t Going to Be the Same
Among the casinos that are planning to instill some pretty extreme measures are Wynn and Encore. Both are owned by Wynn Resorts, the company that’s decided to ditch poker out of all the venues until the crisis is over.
At first look, this decision might seem too extreme, but from the financial point of view, banishing poker out of Wynn Resorts will not cause significant damages to the company’s budget. All casinos, including those operating under the Wynn Resorts banner, earn their poker money through the rake, which is basically a fee the players pay on each hand. That accounts for only about 2% profit for the casinos.
Another reason for this might be that the interest for live poker has subdued significantly over the last couple of months, with online poker becoming the new big thing.
Online Poker Business Booming During the COVID-19 Crisis
The four states where online poker is legal reported record revenues in March. New Jersey, for example, cashed in $3,629,112 in March, which is an increase of about 92% compared to March 2019.
Popular US poker sites have also made a lot of money, with some companies breaking their own records. GGPoker, for example, broke its record for the guaranteed pot after 3,662 players took part in one of their tournaments, thus getting the pot to half a million. The WSOP Super Circuit Series, which concludes on Sunday, has increased its prize pool by nearly four times due to demand.
Another proof of the increase in popularity of online poker is the data provided by Google Trends. As you can see in the screenshot above, the search volume for ‘online poker’ went up significantly in March. This happened just a few days after the White House asked Americans to stay home to help stop spreading the virus.
Sports Betting Industry Slowly Returning to Its Feet
In Europe, the sports betting industry is back from the dead as professional soccer has made a comeback. Earlier this week, the eyes of soccer fans were glued to the screen during Der Klassiker, one of the biggest games in the German Bundesliga.
Speaking of Bundesliga, American sports fans will also be able to watch it live as DraftKings has struck a partnership deal with Sportradar. Apart from German soccer, DraftKings users will have the luxury to watch live streams of Korean Baseball games and many other sports events.
Another big news from last week is that online sports betting in DC is now live. A few days ago, DC Lottery launched its web-based sportsbook, which should start taking bets next week.
Online casino gambling remains illegal in DC until further notice. The District of Columbia remains one of the 47 states where this form of gambling is not regulated. As of May 30, 2020, there are only three states with legal internet casinos, namely, New Jersey, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.