COVID-19, now officially designated by the World Health Organization as a novel coronavirus for 2020, continues to spread around the world. The fear triggered by an outbreak of COVID 19 has contributed to an increase in players on online gambling sites and taken a toll on land – based on casino revenues.

The WHO estimates 4500 deaths. This figure has led some jurisdictions to prohibit the visitation of casinos in their jurisdictions. In Macau, for example, on February 4, the government ordered all casinos to close for half a month to stem the spread of COVID 19. Given that the closure coincided with the world's busiest week in the gambling capital, during which Chinese are expected to flock to casinos, the move could hurt revenues at Macau's casinos.

Lenny Spina, a gaming consultant, said there had been an 82 per cent drop in visits to Macau since the end of January.  This rapprochement is supported by a report from Fitch Ratings, which says that there was an “80%” decline in visits to Macau at the end of January. Although some casinos in the world's largest gambling destination have reopened since 20 February, relatively few visitors have been spotted in recent days.

The usually crowded large casinos look desolate, some have no queues at all at the main entrance. Springowl even told CNBC that the COVID-19 situation has led many players to turn to online casinos like Bovada instead. I think this is a wake-up call, not only for Asia, but also for the United States. Some argue that there should even be a push for the authorities to legalize online gambling on a larger scale now.

While Ader has been pushing for a return to land-based gambling and safe, germ-free gambling, online gambling and betting sites such as Bovada have recently seen an increase in the number of players getting involved. Experts say the increase may be due to the fact that many players are tired of falling victim to human transmission of COVID-19. Gamblers would rather stay home in a germ free environment then in a dirty casino. People do not understand how dirty chips can be.

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