You can compare the current relationship between land-based casinos and online casinos to the relationship between cinemas and Netflix. While the cinema may not go obsolete entirely, the emergence of subscription streaming television like Netflix constitutes a significant challenge to its years of monopoly.
Like Netflix, the online casino is a formidable alternative posing a big question to the relevance of brick and mortar casinos in the provision of gambling fun. However, unlike Netflix, the online casino has been on a fast-paced growth since it was first introduced. The growth rate alone is enough pressure to change how the land-based casinos operate forever.
The role of technology in the decline of land-based casinos
Ever since the late 20th century, when the internet was born, it has changed everything in its wake. The gambling industry wasn’t going to escape without more than a scratch. The internet gathered the favorite casino games and offered them in the palms of gamblers.
Today, you can access slots and table games of all shades on your computer screen without leaving your apartment. Even more impressive is that with the mobile adaptability of online casinos, you could play and win real money on the go.
In addition to replicating what land-based casinos have, the online platform capitalized on improving the notable weaknesses of land-based casinos to chart its unique course in the gambling industry. These significant weaknesses of brick and mortar casinos include:
Fixed physical location
Gamblers have to travel distances to find their favorite games in the particular casinos that have them. The online casino solved this challenge by bringing the game to the players and not the other way round.
A limited number of games
There are only so many games land-based casinos could contain within their physical location. Gamblers like options, and the online casino alternative offers more games on computer and phone screens than any gambler can play in a lifetime.
It’s all about real winnings or real losses in land-based casinos. It’s either you go hard or go home, and not many gamblers want to go home so soon. Beginners especially would prefer to learn the game in a demo version before staking real money. The demo play is one of the luxuries the online casino offers gamblers.
The online platform is determined to take over as the most significant niche in the gaming industry with the above features. Already, fans share a common skepticism on the survival of the land-based casino.
The role of the COVID-19 pandemic in the decline of land-based casinos
Convenience is the word that best describes what online casinos have to offer punters. Aside from the damaging effect of this convenience on the survival of land-based casinos, the global outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 seemed like the last straw that could break the camel’s back.
With the world’s lockdowns in 2020, every industry suffered but learned to adapt to new forms of survival based on the internet. The gambling industry was hit by these lockdowns as much as any. Players could no longer access casinos, and this BBC news report shows that the search for online casinos was at an all-time high during the quarantine period.
The traditional land-based casinos took a nosedive, and whether it’s a repercussion of the global pandemic or the ever-increasing popularity of online casinos, the decline of brick and mortar casinos is something that cannot be ignored. But the question is, will this slump be a temporary thing or something which may see the end of traditional casinos? After all, their online counterparts allow punters to experience virtually the same kind of experience in the comfort of their own home while still being able to win real money when playing their favorite games.
To realize the extent of damage done to land-based casinos by the exponential popularity of the online platforms, stakeholders are bracing up to ask what gamblers would miss about playing in brick-and-mortar casinos. Have they lost relevance, or are they still surviving simply because most of the gambling legislation across all jurisdictions still favor land-based casinos?
Is there something left to be desired from land-based casinos?
Depending on who you ask, this could be one of those questions with no right or wrong answers. Even way back before the pandemic and before the emergence of online casinos, gamblers have always had different reasons why they gamble. To a group, gambling is just a game more intense than other games because of what they could gain, but mainly because of what they could lose. To another group, gambling is what they do for a living. To others, gambling is their favorite way of relaxing and socializing.
I bet that given the rise and undeniable eventual decline of the land-based casinos, gamblers in the above groups would say something different about the relevance of brick and mortar casinos. Gamblers who play purely for the win mostly likely wouldn’t miss anything about the land-based casinos, especially since the online alternative offers them more gaming options. On the other hand, those for whom the casino is their way of socializing and having fun will always want those buildings to survive this online turbulence.
Stacking the odds even further against the land-based casinos was the introduction of live gambling in online casinos. This addition animated the online platforms and calmed the popular criticism of online gaming not being as alive as land-based casino gaming with actual slot machines, wheels, and tables.
Notwithstanding the elegant delivery of online live gambling, some fanatic conservatives still cling to the sentiment and nostalgia of the endangered land-based casinos.
On the future of land-based casinos
Losing relevance is not a situation any niche of an industry wants to experience, but at some point, it inevitably happens. The fact is, all innovations, including land-based casinos, lose relevance at some point. Some offer a good fight before they bow out, but they do eventually. For example, many gambling corporations are leveraging technology to boost their service delivery to ensure the survival of their brands. Interestingly, these casino brands mainly use technology to adapt their operations to function online and not necessarily keep their land-based operations bustling like before.
Also, generations come and go. The Millennials and Gen Zs who live online practically would have nothing to miss about land-based casinos, which never was a part of their lives in the first place.
Regarding the future of land-based casinos, the best you can do is enjoy whatever shred of value it has left to offer if it doesn’t survive this tide.