Most outdoor leisure activities were sharply curtailed across the globe last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which helped online pokies make huge profits in Australia as people sought out new forms of entertainment online.
One of the big issues for the Australian government is that all of that pokie money went overseas despite efforts to curtail online casino gaming via IP bans and deals with licensing authorities. For example, the Australian government has a deal with the MGA (Malta Gaming Authority) which sees the European-based and EU-controlled casino licensing authority to forbid casinos under its framework to accept members from Australia as a sign of respect for the country’s online gambling laws.
Yet, it seems that even with all these anti-online slots and casino gaming measures in place, Aussie citizens can easily find ways around them! Video slots gambling, otherwise known as online pokies gambling in Australia, was more prevalent than ever while the government enforced lockdowns, curfews and social distancing rules. These pandemic measures affected nearly all businesses with online companies benefiting the most. Meanwhile, it had negative effects on operations with physical locations that rely on walk-in customers.
As for land-based gambling, once lockdown measures were in full swing, Aussie pokie lovers could not visit walk-in gambling establishments such as casinos and pokie halls. This inevitably pushed punters toward the already booming online gambling sector, as it was the only way for customers to continue to partake in their hobby – most notably online video slot gaming a.k.a. online pokie gaming – need we remind you!
Untapped Access To Supposedly Banned Online Casino Sites!
Even though land-based casino gamblers were hugely affected by the pandemic, they still had untenable access to online pokies the government could not prevent, which invariably brought some interesting new trends to online gambling. The main ones are something the Aussie government will not be happy with, and it honestly shows just how badly the government’s anti-online casino laws are failing the country and its citizens. Although it would be met with a severe backlash, the government needs to find a legal framework to control the industry and stop the flow of money overseas to casino players who are often not protected by any laws!
Right now, the consensus is that the laws in Australia restricting operators from offering online pokies are counter productive. Before players could access MGA casinos which protected Aussie players with free mediation services, and they were protected under EU laws that encourage non-EU citizens to spend their money at EU e-commerce business websites but that ship has now sailed for reasons mentioned above! Although the old rules did not stop the flow of money outside of Australia, it’s better than the shambolic ****-show we are seeing now!
Pandemic Results in Large Increase in Online Gambling in Australia
As Australians were extremely limited in their ability to visit brick and mortar casinos during the pandemic, they still had the option to change their luck on their followed sports matches and casino games. But they would have to shift to the internet. The interest in online gambling services showed a sharp increase. And it wasn’t just that the increase came from the shift from physical to virtual. In fact, gambling participation in the country increased overall. The fact that so many other physical activities were unavailable to the country, many tried out gambling for the first time, and the regulars also increased their gambling levels.
Gambling novices and aficionados alike were drawn to the variety of games available on the various websites, and the bonuses and incentives offered by the highly competitive industry. As there wasn’t much sport being played either, non-sporting events also drew interest from the customer base. The Australian Gambling Research Centre recently conducted a survey of 2000 people to check their gambling habits during the pandemic and lockdown.
They found that 30% of them had registered for their first online gambling account during this time. 1 in 20 had participated in online gambling in some form for the first time. Frequent gamblers also increased – the number of people gambling 4 times a week or more increased from 23 to 32%. It’s safe to say that at least there were sufficient alternatives to fill the void of onshore gambling and keep the people interested.
Changes in Customer Behaviour During the Pandemic
Research from October 2020 has found that the shift to online gambling has resulted in people spending more than they normally would. Possibly because it is easier to lose track of cash when it’s all handled through an online wallet rather than through physical cash. In the months of June and July, which were the strictest in terms of lockdown, 1 in 3 individuals registered for a new account with a gambling site. In addition, most of these new accounts were made by young males 18 – 34 years old. This was the same group that spent more per month overall on gambling.
Boredom and susceptibility to attractive promotions have been attributed as major causes of this. In fact, gambling advertising had been heavily targeting Australians during this period and will continue to as it reaps more customers.