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The COVID-19 pandemic affected our everyday lives in a very unpredictable way. Just two months ago, it was impossible to imagine how remote work, homeschooling, shortage of toilet paper, and yeast, as well as waiting in lines and not seeing our family and friends, will become the new normal.

The gambling industry was one of the industries that took a serious hit. First, considering it is a non-essential industry, many casino venues had to close their doors even before the general lockdown took place. Also, with so many sports events such as Premier League, Euro 2020, and Olympics being canceled, sportsbooks had to adapt and find a way to keep their customers engaged without having their favorite categories to offer. Some of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic were definitely negative, but there are gambling businesses that are simply flourishing. 

Rise of the Online Casino Industry

“Isolation”, “social distancing”, “stay at home” - messages like this don’t necessarily invite you to get out and hang out in your favorite casino. At the very beginning of the pandemic, casinos put a lot of effort into creating a safe gambling space with as little personal contact as possible, but it just didn't happen. As non-essential businesses, many casino establishments all over the world were forced to close their doors. Even Las Vegas, the Sin City, quickly became the Sleep City.

And while traditional casino venues went down with the coronavirus, casinos, like those reviewed online casinos listed by, experienced a renaissance. Online casinos noticed a rapid growth in the number of customers. After all, they offer all popular games, but in a safe online environment, so players never have to leave the house. All players have to do is log in and play. 

All transactions between users and online casinos are executed online, so there is no need to visit the bank or handle cash. Online payment methods such as Skrill, Neteller, and PayPal are already used to the online dynamics so transactions run smoothly. It seems that the online casino industry proved to be more resilient to unexpected situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

eSports - Most Popular Betting Category

The very start of March was shocking for many. Tokyo Olympics - canceled. Euro 2020 - postponed. Premier League - delayed for the time being. The list goes on and on. Without tennis matches, football cups and leagues, March Madness, and other betting favorites, punters felt like fishes out of water. 

And while some sportsbooks closed down, as they couldn’t adjust to the new conditions, others took a U-turn and found new categories to focus on. 

For example, many online sportsbooks noticed a rise of bets placed in the category of eSports. eSports is one of the very few sports industries that continued with competitions even with the pandemic in our backyards. The main reason for this is the nature of eSports that simply went back to their roots. eSports matches, nowadays often taking place in arenas and looking more like boxing matches in Vegas, essentially require players and computers. Thanks to the internet, players within a team can be connected even when not sitting next to each other, thus ensuring social distancing. 

Other sportsbooks included some reliable, even though obscure categories, like weather, sunsets, and sunrises, etc. Some simply offered more betting categories related to the entertainment industry, so punters can bet on what will happen on tv shows, or will the main character survive the cliffhanger. Amid the pandemic, some bookies even went that far to offer to bet on coronavirus, and such marketing move was condemned by both the regulatory authorities and betting enthusiasts who consider such betting being immoral and a sign of bad taste.

New Era of Customer Protection 

Coronavirus pandemic finally urged regulatory bodies to focus on playing conditions in online casinos. With so many people sitting bored at home, it is only natural they will find some excitement in online casinos, and many companies tried to take advantage of it. For example, some of them supported betting on coronavirus, while others advertised their business as “corona-free”. Casinos also decided to increase their welcome bonus offers that serve as an incentive for players to register and deposit, while hiding unfair wagering requirements. 

Luckily, regulatory agencies not only reacted on time, and fined such casino sites, but also took customer protection a bit more seriously. The UK Gambling Commission went that far to suggest setting a daily deposit limit, as well as a ban of all VIP programs that usually provide additional bonuses and promotions that motivate players to play more often, especially in times like these when there is not much left to do. Regulators all over the world engaged in creating a new set of standards regarding advertising of online gambling activities and ensuring safe, transparent, and fair gambling conditions. 

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