By Nyasha Mutena
Following a year of business closure due to the Covid-19 imposed lockdown, government has finally authorized resumption of Casino operations countrywide but under strict observance of Covid-19 guidelines.
In most countries like Zimbabwe, the closure of physical casinos due to lockdowns has severely affected the revenues and profits of this industry.
Globally, with 74% of the revenue coming from offline brick and mortar casinos, the sector faced a decline of 10.8% in the year 2020.
Addressing journalists during a Post cabinet briefing yesterday, 7 April 2021, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa emphasized that those found violating the guidelines stand to witness their licences cancelled.
“Cabinet informs the nation that henceforth, casinos will be allowed to re-open with strict observance of COVID-19 guidelines. Those found disregarding the guidelines will have their licences revoked,” said Senator Mutsvangwa.
She highlighted that this development had been necessitated by the continued decline in positive Covid-19 cases due to national efforts to contain infection from the virus. Casinos have been closed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
“Cabinet was informed that as at 6 April 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 36 966, with 34 781 recoveries and 1 531 deaths. The recovery rate is 94%, with 35 240 of the Covid-19 cases attributable to local transmission. There are 654 active cases.
Positivity continues to decline in response to national efforts to contain infection from the virus,” she said.
2020 can be described to have been a disrupted year financially for everyone including the top industries in the world due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Many businesses were compelled to discard conventional working models to come up with innovative and creative styles of business.
Despite shutting down, the gambling sector survived by efficiently shifting to digital casinos. The global online gambling market was expected to grow from $58.9 billion in 2019 to $66.7 billion at the end of 2020 at a growth rate of 13.2%.
The application of technologies like virtual reality, live streaming and online casinos emerged as a profitable and sustainable alternative amidst the economic setbacks in the industry. Digitalization emerged as an alternative and a ray of hope for most the businesses.
However, this move escalated the unemployment rate as companies struggled to stay afloat. Most traditional casinos were forced to lay off employees for cost cutting and survival.
According to a report done by the Grandview Research, the global online gambling market size is expected to reach USD 127.3 billion by 2027, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 11.5% from 2020 to 2027.