Casinos have been one of the industries hit the hardest by COVID-19 during 2020 so far.
Brick and mortar casinos across the country had to shut their doors as a result of the coronavirus crisis and the American Gaming Association’s tracker says dozens remain closed.
Casinos closing resulted in a boom for online sites offering games such as roulette and blackjack, though the legality of online gambling varies from state to state in America.
The flexibility of online gambling is one of the reasons it has become so popular, allowing players to have a bet any time of the day or night, or while they are out and about, or on the move.
But could online gambling also provide some health benefits when compared to offline betting?
Apps make gambling more flexible
It has never been quicker or more straightforward to gamble and that is because of the rise of mobile betting.
Many online casinos now have their own apps and the same is true in the world of sports betting. Sometimes, both sports betting and casino gambling is offered on the same app.
Before the advent of apps and internet gambling, people would have to visit a facility such as an offline casino or a bookmaker in order to gamble. This might mean they spend more money than intended as they feel the need to make the most of being at such a facility.
This is no longer the case with many bookmakers shifting their focus to online. And while new casinos such as the We-Ko-Pa Casino Resort in Arizona continue to open their doors to welcome guests, casino operators are also increasingly turning their attention to the internet.
In 2020, this is partly due to COVID-19 which left land-based casinos unable to run, but the trend is certainly in the direction of mobile and internet betting being the future for the sector.
Making gambling easier may not necessarily be a good thing, though, unless people are able to stay in control over how much and how often they are betting.
More controls over betting online
One of the major health benefits of online betting over offline gambling is the measures that websites have in place to help their users to stay in control.
Among these is a feature that allows you to set a limit on how much you can lose, which theoretically ensures that players are never able to lose more money than they can afford.
Some people find it helpful to be able to set this loss limit up in their account settings. Exclusion schemes are also in place to prevent people from gambling at online casinos. People have to sign up to be a part of such a scheme, which can involve blocking their mobile devices from being able to access gambling apps and websites.
It is worth pointing out that online gambling can also be done for free. Some sites allow players to sign up and start playing on slots and other games without even having to make a deposit, due to the welcome bonus they are given for creating an account.
With offline casinos, it can be easy for people to get carried away with their gambling. Alcohol might be involved with drinking having a negative impact on people’s decision-making, meaning they spend much more money on gambling than they would if they were sober and at home.
Some individuals might feel egged on to gamble more as a result of peer pressure at offline casinos and this can mean it is more likely to develop a gambling addiction compared to online.
Online gambling offers further benefits
As well as being potentially healthier than offline gambling due to there being more controls to reduce the risks of addiction , there are a wide range of other benefits that could make it more tempting to gamble through the internet.
For example, the odds are usually better at online casinos compared to offline casinos, so the chances of winning are improved as a result. House edge might be lower, making it easier to turn a profit from casino games.
At online casinos, the choice of games available to play is vast. It is not uncommon for an online casino site to offer thousands of different slot games, as well as other options like poker.
Online gamblers can play at their own pace, choosing to take a break when they wish, whereas at offline casinos there might be some pressure to keep laying down more chips.
With online casinos certainly here to stay, it is likely more studies are going to be carried out in the future on whether or not these are a healthier option than gambling offline.