Australia is one of the biggest countries in the world for gambling. Indeed, betting is part of the way of life for many Australians, with gambling a central part of the nation's culture.
The coronavirus crisis has had an impact on bricks and mortar casinos in Australia, but few would bet against them being able to bounce back over the coming weeks and months.
Indeed, visiting a casino is likely to be one of the things Australians most looked forward to as the country started to move out of the lockdown imposed to control the global pandemic.
In Australia, most casinos are located in massive entertainment centers that are teeming with people enjoying a night out. Gambling is therefore normalized, with many people regularly stopping off at a casino for a bet or two in the middle of a bar crawl in cities like Sydney.
A bright future for land casinos in Australia despite COVID-19?
New regulations that have made online casinos illegal in Australia have given brick and mortar casinos a big boost. There are still however many online casinos available for canny Australians. We did a simple search and found AustralianCasinoClub.com that reviews over 50 online casinos. Though as a new online casino opens up it is quickly blocked.
Land casinos, of course, have been hit hard by COVID-19, though they are expected to survive. According to recently published research by a company in the sector, Australia's casino industry was the fifth-worst affected by the coronavirus crisis.
It is claimed that for every day that these bricks and mortar facilities had to be closed because of the pandemic, the Australia casino industry lost almost $15 million. This is despite the fact Australia has been relatively successful at restricting the spread of COVID-19, with politicians taking steps such as locking down the country's borders early.
One of the reasons why this is the case is that Australian casinos are very popular with people who visit the country on holiday from China. With global travel massively affected by COVID-19, this has left casinos in Australia struggling to make money without a large part of their audience.
Casino company Crown Resorts is among those to focus heavily on tourists, who love its high-end sites in cities such as Melbourne and Perth, with a Sydney casino in the world. But the firm - which is part-owned by billionaire James Packer - has seen its net profit drop from $290.7 million last year to $57.5 million in its latest financial results.
Chief executive Ken Barton noted that the next Chinese New Year - normally a big event for the firm's casinos - is unlikely to be as successful as usual either due to a lack of tourists.
Gambling still on the rise in Australia
Overall, gambling in Australia has actually increased since the start of the crisis. Perhaps this can be explained by the fact people have been stuck at home and looking to fill the time, perhaps by visiting an online casino site for a game of roulette or blackjack.
As Dr Charles Livingstone, head of the Gambling and Social Determinants unit within Monash University's School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine and a leading gambling researcher says: "Some gambling certainly appears to have increased, which is unsurprising.
"Stress is a risk factor for gambling, and life under COVID-19 is of itself stressful for many and may also exacerbate difficulties associated with relationship issues, making ends meet and the prospect, if not the reality, of unemployment and loss of income."
It is claimed that up to 80 per cent of Australians gamble in some form, so there is a massive potential client base for land casinos in the country.
Online betting is very popular too, with Ladbrokes owner GVC Holdings recently claiming that its Australian business has been performing "exceptionally well" during the coronavirus crisis. This is despite most sports around the world having been on pause because of the pandemic.
Data from the Australian Institute of Criminology has also shown online gambling has been increasing in the country this year.
The study - which was based on data that was collected in early April 2020 - indicated that younger males in full-time employment were particularly turning to gambling in 2020.
Among the factors involved is the fact that advertisements for gambling are commonplace on Australian television. These ads word hard to convince people to sign up and have a bet.
With online casinos now banned in Australia and authorities clamping down hard on illegal sites, it seems as though land casinos in the country will continue to win for some time into the futur