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The Casino Industry: What Will Keep It Afloat?

That global markets are in decline comes as no surprise. Every day brings bad news from US, European, and Asian-Pacific markets, and investors say that the overall picture of the global economy is even gloomier than people think. With most of the businesses on lockdown, the world’s economic future might be bleaker than in the times of the Great Depression. Experts predict that the costs of the coronavirus pandemic could reach as much as $8.8 trillion, which is almost 10 percent of global gross domestic product. Stocks have been tumbling in all sectors so inexorably that, analysts fear, many of them will not be able to recover. This week, the majority of stocks ended up in negative territory.

With countries around the globe on lockdown, companies belonging to airline, tourism, chemical, hotels, and motels industries continue sinking. Retail stocks fell in April by 16.4 percent, diving deeper than in March. Gambling and casino stocks have also been dropping during the quarantine. However eager people may be to make money during the hard times, they cannot visit casinos closed down since January. For many gamblers, visiting casinos in Las Vegas or, say, Casino Helsinki in Finland involves flying. With airplanes firmly grounded at airports, reaching these casinos now is next to impossible.

Even if some gamblers tried to get to Las Vegas or Helsinki in a car, they would only be met with deserted buildings. A casino is the place where crowds of people constantly touch chips, cards, slot machines, and drinks, which increases chances of spreading infection. Hence, all casinos were prudently shut down as soon as the virus reared its ugly head. Since mid-January, gambling stocks have been recording a decline of more than 49 percent. Their fall has also negatively affected such companies as PlayAGS (AGS), a manufacturer and supplier of electronic gaming products. When casinos are in quarantine facing massive losses, the last thing they want is to invest in new slots and video bingo machines. Not in demand, suppliers of casino equipment thus go down together with casinos.

Although the casino industry has been plummeting, analysts say that its situation is not beyond repair. Unlike other tumbling stocks, casino companies usually have strong balance sheets. The current ratios of many casino companies, which indicate their ability to meet short-term financial obligations, are higher than the current ratio of any airline company. A higher number suggests that a company has good chances to remain solvent. Many casinos have ratios of around 2 or even more than 2, which suggest that they will succeed in remaining liquid in 2020. Because many casino companies had been strengthening their balance sheets, they can weather the current storm. Even staying inactive in lockdown, they have billions in cash and, therefore, can remain hopeful that their future will not be all doom and gloom.

The gambling industry will emerge from the quarantine with lesser losses than other sectors also because it includes virtual casinos that are gaining momentum during these hard times. People can travel to other countries during the pandemic only in their imagination, but no lockdown can stop them from earning money on gambling websites. In all likelihood, more people are going to turn to gambling when they are stuck at home deprived of their usual daily activities or income. In Finland, where gambling is infused with the spirit of nationalism, Finnish online casinos, called in Finnish “suomalaiset nettikasinot,” are not only actively functioning during the pandemic but also developing in new directions.

The latest novelty is No Registration Casinos. This type of gambling websites has been introduced only in Finland, Sweden, and Germany. In the United Kingdom and other European countries, such websites have not been legalized yet. As their name suggests, No Registration Casinos do not require newcomers to fill in a lengthy application form. Instead of asking users to write down their name, date of birth, gender, e-mail and snail mail addresses, they invite them to log into their bank account or online payment provider. Once players do this, No Registration Casinos collect their “Know Your Customer” data through their bank and create an account for them. The whole operation usually takes several minutes to be completed.  Payment processing times with No Registration Casinos are equally quick. Connected to users’ BankID or Trustly, their deposits, winnings, and withdrawals are processed within minutes.

Casinos not requiring registration gain in popularity, because they skip a usual lengthy application process and allow people to start wagering without losing time. The quickness of their services is particularly appreciated when people are locked down at home, worried about their dwindling financial resources and job loss. When times are tough, an opportunity to earn money from home is precious. The growing popularity of No Registration Casinos also bodes well for the gambling industry as a whole. Thanks to their fondness for online gambling, players will surely keep land-based casinos afloat during and after coronavirus.

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