The global economy has been rocked by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, with many industries being entirely shuttered in response to restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
While these measures are being eased in many places to help stimulate spending, boost consumer confidence and get people back to work, many experts agree that it is necessary for governments to do more to help struggling businesses stay afloat in these uncertain times.
One option being proposed is to revise regulations relating to online gambling and allow more people to play legally as a result.
The best online gambling sites according to online-gambling.com offer a huge range of compelling experiences to keep people entertained, from table games and slots to sports betting and more. This could help to reverse the global recession that is predicted for 2020 and contribute to economic upturn.
There are some obstacles to overcome, as well as some other considerations around this issue to address, so here is a look at where things stand at the moment and how circumstances might evolve in the coming months.
Supply & Demand
Perhaps the most compelling reason that regulators in the US and other countries where online gambling sites are either entirely outlawed or heavily restricted should relax rules and increase accessibility is that the pandemic has actually driven demand for such services through the roof.
Searches for online casinos reached record levels because millions of people found themselves unable to live their lives as normal. With a surfeit of free time and a limited number of in-home entertainment options available, a lot more consumers were willing to take gambling sites for a test drive, meaning that a much larger audience is now engaged with this type of activity. In combination with the excellent SEO strategies used by many online casinos, it is easy to see why this industry is generating so much attention.
In addition, the pandemic has boosted participation in other interactive ecosystems, such as online gaming, and yet competitive play in these spheres is comparatively straightforward. Meanwhile the huge influx of players to casino sites has occurred in many regions in spite of the fact that such gambling services are either explicitly banned or not adequately represented in legislation.
While online gambling may still be an overlooked issue from a regulatory perspective, that has not stopped the industry achieving significant growth and generating healthy revenues globally. Experts predict that the market will be worth almost $60 billion in 2020, up from $53.7 billion the year before. These figures from Grand View Research were published prior to the pandemic, meaning that the boost to online gambling this year could be even greater.
The point, then, is not only that there is demand for this type of service, but also a sizable slice of the population who are willing to circumvent restrictions and play online anyway, regardless of whether doing so is in keeping with local laws. Furthermore it seems that there is little that regulators can do to prevent this, and indeed by failing to offer licenses to legitimate gambling sites they are effectively missing out on the taxes that they could apply to operators as a result.
This creates one of the biggest arguments for the relaxation of online gambling regulations; that by doing so, governments would not only be helping businesses to thrive, but would also be filling the public purse in the process. Since so much taxpayer money has been monopolized by responses to the COVID-19 crisis, any additional revenue that can be generated should be seen as incredibly attractive.
Even with a number of compelling reasons to legitimize and regulate online gambling on the table, there are still quite a few hurdles to overcome, hoops to jump through and compromises to be made before such policies for economic stimulation can be adopted.
There are a variety of objections from campaigners, pressure groups, lobbyists and other voices on the political scene which are still very much at the forefront of the minds of many responsible for regulating this industry. It is not just a case of overcoming moral questions raised, but also about appeasing those who see the social impact of problem gambling as being harder to tackle if it is not thoroughly regulated.
Of course with a few nations already taking a very liberal approach to online gambling regulation, and opinions softening towards it worldwide, it could well become one of the linchpins of the economic recovery that is needed post-pandemic.
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