Land-based casinos first became part of society in the 17th century, and it certainly hasn’t been plain sailing ever since. Ever since their inception, they’ve battled shifting laws and regulations, and have had to adapt quickly to survive.
More recently, online casinos undoubtedly became the biggest threat to their continued success and survival. Demand for online casino games has soared over the past five years, not least online poker, and the internet-based gambling industry has far surpassed even the greatest expectations.
However, brick-and-mortar casinos continue to evolve and blaze new trails within the gambling industry to stay competitive. For a deeper understanding of where land-based casinos are headed, it’s important to look at how they’re handling their main threats and how they’re harnessing new opportunities to shape out their future.
The threat of a pandemic
There are plenty of threats that land-based casinos could’ve seen coming. They were aware of the rise of online casinos and new casino games, but a global pandemic was probably not high on the threat list.
COVID-19 has had a massive impact on brick-and-mortar casinos, with almost all of them shutting down during the initial outbreak of the pandemic. Even Vegas was hauntingly quiet for the first time ever. According to ABC News, the four months that casinos were shut down “cost states more than $2 billion in lost tax revenue”.
At the time of writing, some 90% of land-based casinos have reopened. Still, they’re being hampered by capacity limitations and the safety concerns of customers, many of whom are now choosing to stay home and play online instead. The state of the global economy is also having a negative impact on land-based casinos.
The casino industry is looking for tax relief to help in the interim, but we’ve no doubts that, with the proper social-distancing guidelines, masks, and sanitization in place, land-based casinos will make it through this trying time.
The rise of online casino games and technology disruption
In the 20th century, everything would change for the casino industry when the internet was invented. It wasn’t until the 21st century, however, that online gambling really took off. The swiftness of its growth proved that even the land-based casino giants were not immune to the revolution that the internet would bring to the industry.
More people began playing games at home, and this trend has continued apace with improvements in technology. New and exciting features, such as playing at a live casino online, seemed irresistible to younger generations, and land-based casinos were predicted to really lose traction in the industry.
While land-based casinos were initially a bit slow on the uptake, they’ve now fully revolutionized their offerings to compete and take advantage of the rise in online gambling. These are just some of the ways that they’ve adapted to stay competitive:
- Launching their own website: although it took some time for land-based casinos to jump aboard the online-site wagon, it’s now almost a necessity for big casinos to have a prominent brand presence on the web, too. Instead of consistently losing out to online-only rivals, land-based casinos have built modern, online versions of their offerings to bring in extra revenue, helping them to succeed.
- Live-dealer experiences: one of the newest trends in online gambling is the introduction of live dealers for some of the table card games on offer. This allows online players to play from the comfort of their own home, but with the land-based casinos’ very own human dealers running the games live.
- VR: virtual reality certainly is not being used to its full potential just yet, but it’s already having a significant effect on the casino industry. Land-based casinos are combining with their online sites to allow at-home players a virtual land-based experience by leveraging VR technology. Players can now play wherever they are, while also feeling like they are enjoying the real thing. This is excellent news from a brand-loyalty perspective because it helps to keep the magic of visiting a real casino alive – and fans will want to return for the in-person experience when they can.
Robotics: land-based casinos are starting to test the waters when it comes to robotics, and we’ve already seen several robot croupier prototypes over the years. Whether or not robot croupiers are going to be a staple in the future, these developments are an exciting aspect to keep an eye on.
Delivering more than a gambling experience
Land-based casinos realised they would have to do something to keep customers coming in for an experience that they simply couldn’t get online. That’s why many of them have upgraded their facilities to take them to the next level. Many of the US’s best casinos have world-class dining and bar facilities for customers to enjoy during their visit. Some have taken it a step further, making their establishments into luxury vacation spots, where visitors can enjoy the comfort and relaxation of being on holiday while taking advantage of renowned casino facilities whenever they fancy.
What’s the verdict?
We live in the most unpredictable of times, and it’s hard to be sure about much right now, but one thing that we are sure of is that land-based casinos are resilient enough to make it through these tough times. Over the years, we’ve seen how they’re able to evolve and adapt to challenging predicaments, and they always seem to come out stronger on the other side. Rest assured, then, that brick-and-mortar casinos are here to stay, and we can’t wait to see the exciting developments that are sure to happen over the next couple of years.
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