Effects of the coronavirus on gambling and gaming industry

As the total time spent at home increases because of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of people are turning to video games, streaming platforms, online casinos and sports betting sites. In times of a crisis, running PR activities is both a challenge and an opportunity for these industries.

Classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the novel coronavirus outbreak is affecting almost every aspect of our lives. Around the globe, millions of people are staying at their homes to slow the spread of the coronavirus and implement social distancing measures. As the total time spent at home increased massively, millions are turning to video games, online casinos, streaming services and sports betting sites.

All around the world, governments are locking down cities, states and countries to slow the spread of the virus. According to The Guardian, over 1.7 billion people in the world are on a lockdown as of March 24. This means that unless it’s completely necessary, 20% of the world population cannot leave their homes. Closure of bars, restaurants, cinemas, movie theaters and sports events leads more people to spend time on online entertainment tools to have fun and fill the long hours of isolation. This leads the digital social hubs, streaming and gaming platforms to become the new hangouts for people.

New records in the gaming and streaming industries

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, consumers and gamers are turning to game content - playing or watching - more than ever before. As a result of the pandemic and lockdown measures, leading streaming platform like Twitch, YouTube Gaming and Facebook Gaming hit all-time highs in hours watched, streamed and concurrent viewers.

According to the data of StreamElements, an online broadcasting service provider, daily viewership numbers of Twitch has jumped by 31% in March 2020, roughly 10 million more hours each day. YouTube Gaming, second biggest streaming service in the market, saw a 13% increase in total hours watched and 14% in total hours streamed in the first 3 months of 2020. Facebook Gaming, with a total market share of 11%, saw a 20% increase in total hours watched and 11% in total hours streamed on the platform.

The largest video gaming and distribution service Steam has reached an all-time record on March with nearly 20 million users active at the same time on the platform. One of the most popular computers games of the gaming history, Counter-Strike:Global Offensive has broke its record and reached 1.15 million concurrent players on March 15.

WHO teamed up with the gaming industry

On March 28, major gaming companies from all around the world united to encourage players to follow the messages of the World Health Organization. Leaders of the gaming industry teamed up with WHO and launched an initiative called #PlayApartTogether to encourage gamers on how to entertain themselved, practice physical distancing measures and follow the the WHO’s guidelines. Activision Blizzard, Amazon Appstore, Big Fish Games, Dirtybit, Glu Mobile, Jam City, Kabam, Maysalward, Playtika, Pocket Gems, Rocket Games, Riot Games, SciPlay, Snap Games, Twitch, Unity, Wooga, Youtube Gaming and Zynga joined the program to help people worldwide to stay safe and feel connected.

Some quotes from #PlayApartTogether partners

  • Activision Blizzard - Bobby Kotick, CEO

“Games are the perfect platform because they connect people through the lens of joy, purpose and meaning. We are proud to participate in such a worthwhile and necessary initiative.”

  • Riot Games - Nicolo Laurent, CEO

“Physical distancing shouldn’t mean social isolation! Let’s stay physically apart – and take other public health steps such as hand hygiene – to help flatten the curve and #PlayApartTogether to help power through this crisis.”

  • Twitch - Michael Aragon, SVP of Content

“The #PlayApartTogether initiative is a reminder that even while it's crucial we keep our distance from one another, we can keep enjoying the games we love and stay connected with people online.”

  • YouTube - Ryan Wyatt, Global Head of Gaming

“Gamers know how to come together, even when we're apart, so let's be safe during this time and do our part as an industry to flatten the curve.”

Online casinos thrive during the pandemic

Compared to other sectors, online casinos, gambling and sports betting companies have an advantage as they perfectly fit the social distancing approach. In order to have fun, make some additional money or out of boredom, many people around the world are turning to online casinos and gambling sites.

As an already robust industry, online casinos are seeing a massive increase in their online traffic and revenue as a result of the pandemic. According to New Jersey’s Department of Gaming Enforecement report, there has been a 64% increase in online gross gaming revenue (GGR) after the start of the pandemic in the United States. Moreover, according to a survey conducted in the United Kingdom, 39% of regular gamblers had gambled more than they did before the Covid-19 outbreak. As a result of this increased demand, online casinos are trying to take advantage of the pandemic. They attract and catch the attention of players by upgrading promotions, launching new events, tournaments, developing new features and rewards. Among all these steps taken to gain new visitors, online PR stands out as the most efficient way to improve web presence and visibility.

PR activities to turn the crisis into an opportunity

Companies around the world are working on PR activities to encourage people to play together online, share their gameplay on streaming platforms and make money from online casinos. In such a difficult time, running and managing PR activities is very challenging for entertainment, gaming and gambling companies. The regulations, possibilities, state of the media differs in every country, thus communication plans needs to be planned very meticulously.

Get in touch with the experienced team of B2Press via [email protected] to get more information about regulations and dynamic of your target country. Operating as Europe’s first online PR Agency, B2Press assists its business partners in more than 30 countries in the world. Let’s plan your next PR campaign together!

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