Posted on 23 March 2020 in General
The Coronavirus is having a major impact on the gambling industry worldwide. For the land-based sector it has meant casinos closing down and with all major sporting events being cancelled sports betting operators are left with no content on which their players can bet.
In this podcast H2 founder Simon Holliday and senior consultant Ed Birkin assessed past crises such as SARS and how COVID-19 differs from it in scale and impact.
H2 downgraded its industry forecast by 11% as a direct result of COVID-19, but Holliday explained that the figure was changing all the time: “In reality we are playing catchup [with the forecast] to some degree here. As soon as we account for one closure, restriction or cancellation there’s news of others. So in reality we could even be down 12.5% [at time of recording]. So what am I describing there? That’s 12.5% lower than the pre-virus forecast we had for this year.”
Ed Birkin added: “That first downgrade seven weeks ago was driven predominantly by what was happening in Asia. Three weeks ago we published our first assessment of what was happening to the global gambling industry, and a week ago we decided to move across to a weekly tracker as the virus led to sports cancellations and closures across North America.”
H2 expects land-based gambling, which accounts for 87% of the sector across all markets, to be down 14% as a best-case scenario as operators manage outlet closures. With self-isolation and stay-at-home orders being put in place throughout the world, H2 expects online gambling to increase its share of gross win.
“We were expecting online to account for 13.2% of gross win globally,"said Simon Holliday. "Already when we run the numbers we are expecting it now to be close to 15.8% of gross win. So definitely if I’m a land-based operator I’d like to be one with online exposure. I’d definitely want to have some online gaming, although I think we’ll see a ramp in virtual or eSports as well. So online operators are definitely going to be better insulated from this but the fact that sports are cancelled will have an impact.”