In March 2021, the American Gaming Association (AGA) reported a huge surge in the popularity of online gambling in the US: between them, almost eight million Americans placed a staggering $4.3bn in bets on Super Bowl LV alone, making it “the largest single-event legal handle in sports betting history,” according to the AGA. This statistic represents an unprecedented 63% rise on the previous year.
Meanwhile, Americans flocked to bet on college basketball’s March Madness tournament – 18 million of them, representing a colossal rise of 206% on 2019 (2020’s tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 crisis).
How? And why?
With the pandemic, we have an explanation for the explosion in online casino gaming and sports betting. In the midst of fear and uncertainty, in the depths of lockdowns and social isolation, people seek distractions from the stress. The exploding popularity of casino gaming and sports betting wasn’t confined to the US: more people in Europe than ever before, for example, began using online platforms to gamble in 2020.
There appears to have been a fortuitous convergence: as people found themselves confined to home during the pandemic, there was a parallel rise in the number of poker tournaments and sporting events on TV, almost certainly to offer some enjoyable ‘bread and circuses’ to the masses to help them through the darkest days of the viral outbreak.
However, that wasn’t all: digital platforms – including Resorts Casino, one of the best NJ online casinos – have lifted the need to leave one’s home to participate in a poker tournament or other casino game, or to make sport wagers. Instead of physically trudging to a real-world casino, enthusiasts can now engage in the games they love via their laptops or smartphones, wherever they happen to be.
While the pandemic has undoubtedly given this online experience a major boost, the European Gaming and Betting Association’s data suggests that there’s no sign of this burgeoning popularity easing: the EU market is expanding by a hefty 10% each year and accounted for almost half of the money spent in the world on online gambling in 2018.
While online casino games are accelerating in popularity, it’s sports betting that’s really taken the lead as the chief money-maker for top betting firms of late. In the US, sports betting revenue is comfortably on course to reach a value of $7bn by 2025. Globally, according to a recent study by Technavio, it will have grown by a staggering $144.44bn by 2025.
While the COVID-19 crisis began by upending real-world sports in 2020, the rise of digital platforms and the return of TV coverage of sporting events have breathed new life into sports betting and online casinos at a time when brick-and-mortar equivalents were forced to close their doors.
The era of sports wagering and online casinos has entered a new chapter. Be careful, don’t get addicted – but do enjoy.