New Wave of Lockdowns
California has recently announced that a majority of the counties in the state are bumping their pandemic restrictions to the highest level. This means that non-essential businesses will be forced to shut down, and curfews will start to take effect. This includes a majority of Southern California where mayors are taking it further, asking residents to take similar precautions that we saw in March, limiting all movement to only essential trips.
There is no telling how bad this new spike will be in California, as the West Coast sat back and watched states across the country hit record numbers in early November. The hope is that it will not reach that level in the Golden State.
Since the pandemic really took off in late February and early March, California, specifically Southern California, has been hit very hard. The closure of non-essential businesses directly affects the tribal casinos in California, as these casinos completely rely on in-person betting and gambling.
With the news of two extremely effective vaccines being around the corner, there is hope. However, there will never be replacing the millions of dollars of lost revenues for these casinos that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Highlighting the Need for Mobile Betting
One thing that has repeatedly come up over the past few years is the legalization of mobile and online sports betting and gambling. Ignoring the major argument, which is that it would bring California an absurd amount of cash to fund schools, mobile betting is the future.
While there may not be another pandemic looming around the corner, the reality is that people like accessibility and mobile betting protects revenue from times in which leaving the house decreases. In states that have allowed sports betting, both in-person and mobile, the numbers are clear. Most states see 90-98% of the betting coming online. This was even during the months that COVID died down, and the casinos became decently busy.
California has tons of tribal casinos and taking a similar approach to a state like Michigan, where the sportsbooks and online casinos partner with the physical casinos, would make everyone money. The state would make an insane amount of tax revenue, the casinos would benefit from huge revenue sharing with their partnerships, and the online platforms would hit the untapped goldmine that is California betting.
California has a projected $4.6 billion betting handle, which would top the total betting handle by almost 100% that is currently going on in America. California is a rich state, with 30+ million people. The players who enjoy going to casinos will not stop because of online betting. Online betting would bring in a whole new crowd of players who do not want to travel out of the city to go wager.
In conclusion, mobile betting would not only save the revenue of these tribal casinos during a pandemic, but it would be making them even more money during a pandemic than they would make without one, in my opinion. In the coming two years, California legislators need to make mobile betting and sports betting a high priority.