Poker news | Sep 02, 2020
How Long Will the COVID Online Poker Boom Last?
By RTR Dennis
Many poker players have wondered if another online poker boom will ever happen again. However, they probably didn’t expect it to arise from a global pandemic.
COVID-19 caused many land-based casinos and poker rooms to shut down. These same establishments have yet to reopen in some countries.
That said, internet poker is one of the best sources of gambling action for those missing the brick-and-mortar scene. It’s actually experiencing something of a boom in recent months as a result of the coronavirus.
Lack of Casinos & Sports Betting Fuel Online Poker Growth
The first couple months of COVID-related shutdowns saw internet poker growth explode. Operators suddenly enjoyed huge spikes in cash game and tournament traffic.
This initial boom period has subsided to a degree. However, poker sites are still benefiting from less competition.
Speaking of which, the casino gaming and sports gambling industries have been severely limited by COVID-19. As mentioned before, casinos shut down to stop the spread of the pandemic.
Many countries have since allowed gaming establishments to reopen—albeit with certain restrictions in place. Casinos now require gamblers to wear masks and maintain a reasonable distance from each other. The latter usually entails making players sit at least one seat/slot machine apart.
Both land-based and online sportsbooks, meanwhile, have been struggling due to a lack of sports. Many leagues stopped running and are easing back into the matter. The NBA, for example, is playing its remaining schedule at Disney World.
Internet poker has been the big beneficiary of this situation. It hasn’t been affected by COVID-19 and continues to operate without any restrictions.
Will This Poker Uptick Last Much Longer?
It’s great to see online poker back in the limelight again after so many years of being on a downtrend. However, all good things must come to an end.
The current poker mini boom is attributed to limited gambling options. Poker is certainly a fine game, but it doesn’t have as much general appeal as casino games and sports betting today.
The latter two forms of gambling are suffering as a direct result of COVID-19. Casinos are either shut down or operating with restrictions in place. The betting industry relies on sports, which are limited and affecting bookmaking.
People aren’t rushing to internet poker rooms because they suddenly see the game as being more attractive. They’re doing so because they view it in a better light without sports gambling and land-based casinos in play. Therefore, online poker traffic will eventually fall back somewhere around pre-COVID levels.
The Recent Poker Boom Will Have Some Positive Effects
The days of $500/$1,000 NL high stakes games and fish on every table have been gone for almost a decade now. The COVID poker boom hasn’t come anywhere close to matching these levels. However, it still figures to have a positive impact on the game.
Anybody who dusted off their online poker accounts and started playing again may have renewed passion for the game. Likewise, those who’ve recently gotten into the internet version may continue playing.
Again, those who loved sports betting and land-based casinos before the boom will likely go back to enjoying these when the pandemic slows. But they’ll probably play a little more internet poker than in the past too.