Health & FitJitters Caused by Regulatory Issues, the Coronavirus Vaccine, and Other Issues That Casinos Are Worried About in 2022
Casinos that are facing regulatory challenges and that are required to abide by set coronavirus vaccination policies are likely to face a lot of challenges in the coming year. That said, casinos located in areas where vaccination rates are high and continue to climb, as well as those that have been able to weather the storms brought about by the pandemic, are likely to have a better time operating next year.
International Casinos Bouncing Back
Generally speaking, operators of global gaming franchises and casinos are already reporting that the operational climate is improving compared to the previous year. According to Fitch Ratings, an American Credit rating agency, casinos that depend on domestic visitors and players for their revenue will see their revenues bounce back to what they were before the pandemic in 2022.
This rebound is already being experienced, at least in the United States. Nevada, for example, is on track to surpass gross gaming revenue (GGR) of $1 billion per month in the coming year, with some casinos in various regional markets reporting similar rebounds.
Fitch also says that, according to their research, casinos in markets that have higher rates of vaccination and those that have resigned to living with the virus are seeing faster growth than those in jurisdictions that have not adopted this mentality. This is also the case for jurisdictions that rely on international visitors for their revenue.
Things Are Going the Opposite Way
The consensus in the early days of the pandemic was that gaming markets in the Asia-Pacific region would rebound faster than regional casinos in the United States and the Las Vegas Strip in particular. However, this has been proven to be untrue, as region-heavy operators in the United States and the Las Vegas Strip are among the best-performing equities in the market. Rivals who depend on jurisdictions such as Macau and others in the Asian market are seeing a slump in recovery, growth, and revenue.
Issues to Consider
The firm says that while it is expected that gross gaming revenue (GGR) numbers will pick up in 2022, there are still some forecasted issues that those who operate outside the United States will have to contend with. A major issue is regulatory uncertainty, a sentiment that is supported by a lot of research groups and players in the market. Concessions in Macau expire in June 2022 and there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the concession rebidding process. There is also a lot of concern and uncertainty surrounding operating and regulatory structures in these jurisdictions in the coming year.
In Europe, a major challenge is restrictions on digital gaming. Regulations that place loss limits and limit bet sizes are of particular concern. In Australia, major players in the casino scene are still concerned about licence suitability in the county.
Casinos have to also contend with patrons who have become used to the convenience of gaming wherever they are. Even in cases where new casinos are being opened or new ones picking up, very few people are willing to drive the hour or two it would take to get to their favourite casino.
This is why online casinos have become so popular. Players can play on whichever device they have, as long as they have an internet connection. Finding information on the online casinos has also become very easy, with websites like Online Casinos posting detailed reviews on these casinos. By doing so, they help players find the best online casinos, including those that have no wagering requirements or those that are known for specific games.
To reach convenient-driven patrons, casinos will have to turn to mobile gaming apps to keep their market shares. Although the market is quite crowded with other casino apps, casinos that do not follow these trends are likely to see their customer numbers cannibalised by other casinos that offer players this convenience.
Concerns Surrounding Macau
Macau stocks have particularly suffered due to new regulatory fears and the slow pace of opening borders, something that a lot of countries are borrowing from how China handles the pandemic within its borders. All of these issues and challenges are making investors and analysts favour casino operators in the United States (Las Vegas) over those operating out of the Asia Pacific Region.
The good news is that for the world’s largest casino destination, several areas can help with a rebound. If their COVID-19 numbers remain as low as they are and the number of people getting vaccinated increases, it is likely the authorities will consider opening borders and allowing an influx of tourists from China.
Second, officials should reconsider some of their regulatory efforts, many of which have been called heavy-handed by some. They should also provide a clear path for the renewal of 2022 concessions. Doing both these things should help the shares of the operators running casino businesses in Macau to rise.
The United States Seems to Have a Better Outlook
Fitch, by virtue of being a major credit rating agency, is privy to credit data on many players in the Asia-pacific market. According to their data, operators who rely on tourism are still facing a negative outlook, meaning that many of them are likely to consider downsizing.
For many operators in the United States, this negative outlook does not apply to them because of the strong recovery being experienced in the county. The stabilised and positive outlooks mostly apply to digital and domestic operators who have seen their cash flows return to the levels seen before the pandemic. The only downside is that shareholder returns are back in focus again and this will affect these operators’ revenues and outlook going forward.
The pandemic has exposed a lot of industries and caused financial downturns for many of them. The combination of the effects of the pandemic and regulatory efforts in major casino markets has affected most of the global casino market. However, some countries like the United States, which have high vaccination rates, are already rebounding, with those in Asia-Pacific also likely to rebound next year if a few changes are implemented.
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