Gambling jurisdictions with combined revenues equating to around 35% of total global gambling have been shutdown in the first quarter of 2020, as part of attempts to halts the spread of COVID-19.

At the time of writing (18 March 2020), research by Global Betting and Gaming Consultants has shown more than 40 jurisdictions have ordered the shutdown of some, or all, of their gambling markets. Some jurisdictions have set specific timeframes – which seem optimistically short in some cases – whilst others have indefinite periods for closure.

The shutdowns include:

• China extending its traditional New Year closure of the lottery to almost 50 days. Sales are beginning again in mid-March.
• Macau – the world’s largest casino jurisdiction – closing its casinos for 15 days.
• Italy closing all retail outlets until 3 April 2020.
• Nevada – home to Las Vegas – closing casinos for 30 days from 17 March 2020.

Asian markets account for largest portion of the shutdown gambling revenues, followed by North America and Europe.

GBGC’s Head of Research, Lorien Pilling, commented:

The situation for global gambling is actually worse than the 35% shutdown suggests. GBGC’s research only covers specific shutdown measures relating to gambling. It does not take account of indirect shutdowns, such as casinos remaining open but with no foreign tourists coming to play, or betting shops being open but with no sports upon which to offer bets.

The situation is fast-moving and new jurisdictions are announcing measures every day. But it is already clear from the early numbers and stock market announcements that 2020 will be a dreadful one for gambling.

When sports restart, there will be a glut of betting options and some pent-up demand. But consumer confidence will be at rock-bottom, with a diminished appetite to spend money on betting.

International travel could be curtailed for a prolonged period to mitigate against a secondary outbreak, which will hurt casinos relying on non-domestic customers.