The New Normal in Sport and Gambling

Gambling and sport have been hit hard by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. There are encouraging signs that things are getting back to some kind of normal. The recent World Snooker Championship final was played in front of a capacity crowd. Meanwhile in Las Vegas, the allowed capacity levels are being increased with some back to pre-COVID-19 levels.

It’s all down to the number of vaccinations that are taking place. In Las Vegas, capacity at casinos can be increased if a large percentage of staff have been vaccinated. Wynn Resorts have been able to get their capacity at two of their properties back to 100%.

They had been going great guns with their vaccination program with 88% of their staff getting jabbed. Probably the best jabbing in Las Vegas outside of a boxing ring. Also doing well has been the Cosmopolitan with 80% of its workforce being vaccinated. They have offered nearly $1 million in cash bonuses to their employees who are vaccinated by May 8.

Not only are the casinos back at 100% capacity but social distancing requirements have also been removed, another sign that life is being to change.

In Sheffield, the World Snooker Championship saw crowds back at the Crucible Theatre. It was an eerie sight with the fans in masks watching the matches. This was part of a series of test events to see how safe it is for fans to be attending events. It was a little bit more sedate than the club nights that were also held over the weekend.

Snooker commentator Dennis Taylor said he had never seen so many smiling faces. Masks not being worn all the time then. The question is though is this the start of some kind of normality returning to sport and gambling?

The gambling industry definitely faces a bit of a challenge. That’s mainly due to the way gamblers have been finding other ways of trying to get a win. With the bricks and mortar casinos closed, gamblers just went online.

They were totally safe, if anything was going to get a virus it was their computer not them. Travel costs were eliminated too, and they could play whenever they wanted. Now that Las Vegas can see more customers attending their casinos, will everything go back to normal? There are those who still don’t feel safe going out and visiting places with a lot of people present.

Another problem that Las Vegas has at present is regarding tourists. That has been a major part of the casino industry in Las Vegas. However, there are still some restrictions on travel, so those tourists might not even be able to get there, let alone play in the casinos.

Knowing that online gambling is becoming increasingly popular, there are moves in Nevada to approve more online ventures being opened by state casinos. A workshop is reportedly being held to look at ways of making this happen. Of course, the tax revenue that can be earned by the state is also an attractive proposition.

Life is getting back to some kind of normality, but setbacks will still take place. At the weekend an interview was held discussing the Indian Premier League cricket tournament. Days later it was suspended after positive COVID-19 tests among players.

There will continue to be the fear that increasing capacities will again see outbreaks, sadly that appears to be our new normal.

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