The gambling industry has changed significantly since the advent of online casinos. The rise of these remote casinos is reshaping how players engage in gaming and betting activities. A crucial contributing factor to this is the banning or restriction of land-based casinos in various regions.
The Global Landscape of Land-Based Casino Regulations
Historically, many countries have relied on land-based casinos as staples in their gambling industries. The legalities and regulations of these types of establishments vary considerably worldwide.
Some regions embrace brick-and-mortar casinos and promote them as entertainment hotspots and revenue sources. Others prefer to impose strict regulations on these venues or, in certain instances, even ban them outright.
Factors That Lead to Bans or Restrictions on Land-Based Casinos
Several economic, societal, cultural, technological, and religious factors may contribute to a government’s decision to restrict or ban land-based casinos. Let’s examine these in a little more detail:
Religious and cultural beliefs
Cultural and religious factors can play significant roles in decisions to ban or limit land-based casinos. Certain societies morally object to gambling, viewing the activity as harmful, and in some instances, sinful.
Such beliefs often influence governments to regulate gambling strictly. Authorities may even ban it outright to align with the values of the societies they govern.
Governments can be wary of causing wealth disparity among their citizens. Creating economic instability through an overreliance on gambling revenue is also a concern. They see the banning or restricting of casinos as a way to diversify a region’s economy and reduce its dependence on a single source of revenue.
Certain authorities believe that internet access and the growth of online gambling technologies make monitoring and regulating online gambling easier compared to land-based casino venues. As such, they choose to phase out their citizens’ use of physical casinos through greater restrictions and bans.
The Rise of Online Casinos in Response to Land-Based Casino Bans
As the stricter regulation and banning of land-based casinos spreads, so more online casinos target those regions. Online casinos are now viable alternatives for gamblers, especially in regions with limited or no access to brick-and-mortar ones. Some ways that online casinos benefit from bans and restrictions on land-based casinos are:
Accessibility and convenience
Gamblers can access online casinos from almost anywhere with an internet connection. Players in regions with limited or no access to land-based casinos find this easy accessibility especially appealing.
Compared with land-based casinos, the convenience of gambling online is far greater. There is no need to travel to and from a physical casino location – players can gamble in the comfort of their own homes or while on the go.
With online gambling comes a degree of anonymity that isn’t found in land-based casinos. Hence, this eliminates many of the social pressures and stigmas attached to visiting a casino.
Casino game variety
Most online casinos offer a more extensive selection of games than their land-based counterparts. Players with diverse gaming preferences will find this selection more appealing. For this reason, a broader number and range of gamblers will likely access casinos online.
Promotions and bonuses
Online casinos offer more frequent and generous bonuses, promotions, and loyalty programs than brick-and-mortar ones do. These kinds of incentives tend to attract new users and enhance gambling experiences. Many players familiar with gambling at physical casinos find that they don’t miss the physical casino experience.
Some Regions with Growing Online Casino Usage Due to Land-Based Casino Bans and Restrictions
Most countries and regions across the globe are experiencing online casino growth. In some of these, restrictions and bans on physical casinos are major contributing factors for such growth:
New Zealand has imposed a ban on the building and licensing of any new brick-and-mortar casinos within the country. With only six physical casinos in New Zealand, all situated in prime locations, accessibility is difficult for many players.
According to statistics, the 20 new regulated online casinos in the country are finding increased usage. About 35% of established land-based casino players have already accessed them.
Singapore’s two licensed physical casinos closed temporarily in 2020. For this reason, many residents and tourists opted to play online as a convenient alternative. Since the casinos’ reopening, many players still prefer online casinos for their gambling experiences.
And, with only two physical casino options available to gamblers, accessibility is problematic. In 2023, Singapore already has more than 100 active online casino brands. This indicates that Singapore residents are spoilt for choice when it comes to playing online. 61% of Singaporeans play casino games on their mobile phones, so the restrictions on land-based casinos are driving the increase in online casino access.
Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits gambling due to religious and customary beliefs. With no brick-and-mortar casinos available in the kingdom, anybody wanting to gamble has to do so online. They make use of a VPN to access offshore online casinos, as it’s the only available option.
Most of Saudi Arabia’s Muslim population abide by the state’s prohibition on gambling. They are vehemently against the use of alcohol and drugs and frown upon activities like gambling. Nonetheless, many online casino operators target Saudi Arabia. For this reason and the lack of physical alternatives, online gambling is growing in the country.
Utah and Hawaii
The U.S. states of Utah and Hawaii both outlaw gambling within their state borders. In Utah, the deeply religious Morman population views gambling as sinful. Hence, state authorities logically ban land-based casinos and all other forms of gambling and betting.
In Hawaii, a similar state-wide ban on physical casinos is in place. The reasons aren’t religious ones, though. Most Hawaiians believe that gambling will detract from the harmonious island environment and place family relationships at risk. Online casinos and sports betting are also illegal in both states. Despite this, there has been an upsurge in visits to offshore casino sites and apps as residents look to enjoy gambling experiences.
The banning or restriction of land-based casinos undoubtedly contributes to online casino growth. Their easier accessibility and convenience appeal to a diverse range of gamblers. The anonymity that online gambling platforms provide remains another key factor.
Regions where brick-and-mortar casinos are scarce are showing even greater growth in online casino usage compared to those where physical casinos are plentiful.