Most people have taken the news of all restrictions being lifted on the 19th of July with a pinch of salt, used to 18 months of changing deadlines and varying levels of restrictions. However, according to the Government and their latest roadmap announcements we’re likely to see much fewer restrictions towards the end of July if any restrictions at all. With the announcement of prizes for those in London that choose to get vaccinated the Government went all-in on a last-minute push to get as many UK adults vaccinated as possible, but many industries are wondering whether in the long run, all of this will be enough to save them and allow them to move forward as normal. Without a doubt, the casino industry is one of those that had many questions in the lead up to the restrictions being lifted.
The Gambling Industry Throughout The Last 18 Months
Since the start of 2020, every single industry across the UK has been affected by Covid-19 and the various restrictions that have been put in place. Even supermarkets that have never been forced to close have been affected by social distancing and having to put extra measures (and staff) in place to ensure that these new measures have been put in place.
The gambling industry was affected as land-based casinos and bookmakers were forced to close their doors for months at a time. Although the Government did offer grants and to cover the cost of staff that were furloughed there is no doubt that this closing of the doors will have a lasting effect.
What Happened When Everywhere Closed?
When various entertainment venues closed people had to look elsewhere for ways to pass the time. With most places closed for at least some part of 2020 and 2021, the main option was for people to use online services instead. Although online casinos are nothing new, for lots of people who used land-based casinos they were not something that had been considered before. However, with no other option but to try online services, the take-up of online casinos and online betting services increased massively throughout the strictest lockdown periods.
What Does The Lifting of Restrictions Mean?
Although things could change, there are currently no active restrictions in place. This means that people can once again visit indoor entertainment venues like casinos without facemasks and with large groups of friends. On the surface, this sounds great, but it is thought that some members of the public are going to feel reluctant to dive straight in with visiting places like land-based casinos.
Since March 2020 more people than ever have started to look into online services and entertainment, with lots of people finding that accessing these things online is both convenient and easy. With so many people now comfortable with using things such as online casinos, those that offer land-based betting options might well be wondering whether people will continue this or whether they will be once again returning to physical casinos and bookmakers.
How Do The Public Feel?
There are some whose switch from land-based gaming to online may be permanent. This list of UK focused gambling sites displays the wide range of online options available, which UK casino fans will be pleased to see is pretty vast.
Public opinion across each period of lockdown and restriction has been really varied and the lifting of any restrictions is no exception. Although it is thought that the wearing of face masks will no longer be required after the 19th of July, there is a large section of the public that say they will continue to wear one regardless.
With nearly 18 months of different restrictions in place, people have spent more time at home than ever – which means that some people do feel nervous about going out again. This means that places like land-based casinos where they are indoors and close to other casino members will have to take steps to reassure their customers that visiting them is safe.
Can Things Go Back To Normal?
The phrase that has been bandied about the most is “the new normal” and that is certainly something that is likely to stick around for a while. Most places that have customers visiting them indoors are likely to keep social distancing measures and recommendations in place. After all, they have spent large amounts of money on things like plastic screens and signage in their shops, so they’re not going to be keen to ditch these.
There are also people that are worried the winter months will bring restrictions and lockdowns again, which means that they might be slower to want things to return to number. There is definitely uncertainty for next year; with the Government understandably reluctant to confirm that there will be no need for any restrictions or lockdowns to take place.
For venues such as land-based casinos, this is most definitely something that needs to be paid attention to. It is always important that any business pays attention to the ever-changing needs of their customers and the gambling industry is no exception. With a percentage of people still wary of visiting indoor venues and places with lots of people, they’ll probably want to put steps in place to reassure customers that coming through their doors is safe.
The truth is that none of us knows what the next 12 months are likely to look like. As a country, we have never been in this position before. The news from the Government regarding the lifting of restrictions is certainly positive but people are likely to want to hold back a little to see what this means for the future before they dive in with life going completely back to normal. For the most part, a lot of what will happen remains to be seen and depends very much on the R rate and how numbers of Covid-19 cases increase once restrictions are lifted. Most people are looking forward to embracing life as we return to normal, but are looking to tip-toe into it rather than run in all guns blazing.