COVID-19 restrictions in many states across the US begin to ease, and it finally seems as of almost a year-long routine is about to change. Slowly but surely, entertainment venues all across the country begin to open their doors – although not as freely as we might have wanted.
As some land-based poker rooms open their doors, there is one question that occupies the minds of poker players. How will online casinos and digital poker bonuses be affected by those changes?
Let's take a look at how lifting restrictions will affect both online and offline gambling venues.
All You Need to Know About Available Gambling Options
Steve Sisolak, the Governor of Nevada, seems to understand that to revive the state's economy, land-based casinos must accept more players sooner rather than later.
That is why he is planning to ease social distancing and quarantine restrictions to allow poker rooms to increase their capacity. A few months back, restrictions dictated that casinos and entertainment establishments can only reach 25% of their full capacity.
In Nevada, there were 31 poker rooms before the pandemic. Out of those, 20 are currently operating under the existing restrictions. But luckily, the rules are about the change and make it easier for locals to place bets at land-based venues. Soon enough, gambling establishments will be able to operate at 35% capacity, and on March 15 – those numbers will increase to 50%.
Moreover, players will no longer be required to make a reservation before showing up to any entertainment facility, as was required in the past few months.
Local casino operators now hope that as restrictions will lift, revenues will start increasing. After a particularly bad year, affected by the fast-spreading pandemic, Nevada's gambling revenues were 34% lower than in 2019. That is the lowest income rate since 1997, and if casinos won't see a growth in revenues soon – some establishments will have to shut their doors for good.
But even though both players and operators are hopeful, they also remain cautious. In an official statement, Sisolak said: "While we are hopeful that trends will continue to decrease if all mitigation measures are followed, we must remain flexible – as we have done all along."
So, if the number of active COVID cases will start rising again, the new rules might not apply any longer.
What Those Changes Mean for Online Poker
While many poker players are optimistic about their chances of playing at actual tables in a few weeks, that doesn't necessarily mean online poker will be forgotten all that quickly.
First of all, even though more players will be allowed to visit poker rooms, capacity limits still exist, and not all players will get the chance to enjoy live poker. In addition to that, since many restaurants, bars, and other entertainment establishments in Las Vegas are still closed, the prospect of visiting the city might not be as appealing as it was in the past.
For those reasons, and since the concern of contracting the virus hasn't completely passed, many poker players will probably choose to keep playing online for the foreseeable future. That means that online poker revenues will remain steady in upcoming months, and people will still use online poker bonuses more frequently than ever.
Online Poker: Is It the New Normal?
Nevada casinos are now allowed to accept more visitors, but online poker isn't likely to suffer from that move. What do you prefer: playing online or visiting land-based casinos?