By Guest Contributor, Richard Price, Public Relations, Sports Information Traders
During these uncertain times, millions of Americans are dealing with a variety of financial issues. Millions have lost their jobs, or experience reduced hours. It could take a long time for some to recover from this hit to the economy.
Despite all the doom and gloom, there are reports that Americans are spending money on non-essential items and entertainment during the lockdown. According to a study done by the website Slickdeals, people are using retail therapy as a way to cope. Other websites are paying close attention to how spending is changing with people eager to find distractions and stay busy. Spending habits are evolving, with people cutting back in some ways but still spending more than ever on true entertainment. Where does that leave casinos?
A Welcoming Place for All
It is no revelation that visitors to casinos around the United States come from many different backgrounds. From high rollers who have no issues losing thousands and thousands of dollars to people living paycheck to paycheck, these people have all had to look for different ways to fill that void with casinos closed. It is one of the top forms of entertainment for some, and a distraction from the rest of life as soon as a person walks into their favorite spot.
There is also, obviously, the appeal of winning big and having a bit more financial freedom after heading to the casino. There will no doubt be success stories that come out shortly after casinos open up, highlighting that people were able to turn around a series of misfortunes to win big and have so many financial issues fixed in an instant.
Win or lose, some genuinely miss the entertainment value of casinos. It is hard to find that type of stimulation at home, and it was one of the main reasons to get some out of the house in the first place. Casinos that treat their customers well will have a loyal fanbase ready to come back when things ease back to normal.
Stimulus Checks & Their Impact on Casinos?
By now, the majority of Americans have received a $1200 stimulus check from the government. This check is targeted towards helping those really struggling with their finances to help pay for some bills. While many have had no choice but to use this money on essentials, others had fun with the extra money.
Rumors are circulating that the longer shutdowns stretch out, the higher chance additional stimulus checks are issued. A chunk of that money very well could find its way into casinos once locations start to open up. With stimulus checks being viewed as virtually “free money,” people using it at the casino are hoping to turn their check into even more money if everything goes their way. Unemployment benefits have also been increased and thus those who haven’t been working don’t feel as poor as they did in 2008 during the great financial crisis thanks to heavy intervention by the federal reserve and congress.
It still remains one of the biggest issues is that there is a lack of quality online options. This bodes well for the casinos according to legendary sports handicapper Jon Price of Sports Information Traders who says people love the interaction of the tables and sportsbook rooting with or against the other gamblers in the house.
The lockdown has put a wrinkle into some industries, but casinos do not have an alternative that can even come close to matching at home says Price. There are online games to play, and sports gamblers have to go through a lot of loopholes on the internet to get their fix but that may change with social distancing guidelines and States looking to make up for lost tax revenue. Nothing replaces playing for real stakes and having so many options available in person. Gyms might be losing a lot of loyal customers due to home gyms, and people are figuring out how much cheaper it is to eat at home instead of restaurants, but nothing matches up with the casinos.
Skill-based games are perhaps the most different online, compared to in-person. Online poker players have long complained about lack of options online, a more level playing field due to technology, and something as simple as not being able to read their opponents. Even with health precautions, in-person cards are nearly impossible to replace.
Will Casuals Return?
The one negative right now is that casual casino visitors will not have the opportunity to flock back right away, mostly due to travel limitations. It will be a much more local crowd at all casinos, but that might draw some back who have stopped making visits in the past.
With limited options elsewhere, casinos offer a form of entertainment that mostly looks the same before any lockdowns. There will be some additional health procedures, and the casinos will be less crowded, but they could serve as the distraction everyone needs to focus on something else besides the news.