Google searches for the term “online poker” have hit a seven year high during the COVID-19 outbreak.
While land-based resorts closed their doors, those in lockdown have turned to online casinos to get their fix. Online poker was the most common choice for those looking to wager on the internet.
Searches for online casinos hit their peak between April 19 and 25 this year, when around a third of the world’s population was hunkering down at home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The US saw searches for the term “online casinos” peak between May 10 and 16, according to data from Google Trends. The term had started to show signs of growth as early as the start of March, when it became clear the virus was going to hit the world harder than expected.
Americans took a particular shine to online poker over the course of the coronavirus lockdown, with online interest rising three-fold from its figures at the start of the year. Searches for the term “partypoker” rose by 12% between March 25 and 29 compared to the week before, showing the trend does not seem to be slowing down any time soon.
Optimove recorded a 255% increase in new poker players across sites since the US lockdown took effect, with more people donning their poker face than ever before. Operators such as 888 have even seen a rise in their stocks as a result of increased searches.
Pokerstars, on the other hand, has recorded a surprising drop in searches over the latter half of the COVID-19 lockdown. Searches surged at the end of March, but have been slowly decreasing ever since.
In the UK, online poker was the third-favored form of online gambling. The Brits were much more interested in playing online slots with searches for the term increasing 1000%. The jump was the biggest surge worldwide for online slots.
The UK’s industry-wide self-exclusion scheme, Gamestop, reported a 15% increase in players requesting an end to their bans since lockdown began.
While many countries are now relaxing lockdown rules, it is believed that a large number of professionals around the world will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future.
With the extra time on their hands, small wonder so many people are now reaching for online poker.
“Online slots” was the second most-searched term in the United States, tripling in popularity, while the words roulette, blackjack, and craps remained close to their usual figures.
Pennsylvania unsurprisingly saw the highest number of online poker searches across America, with Nevada following closely behind. We may see Nevada’s number dip in the coming weeks, as sorely-missed Las Vegas casinos start to reopen.
Land-based casinos in the city officially reopened on June 4, although the reality of the situation is a far cry from the casinos gamblers once knew.
Casinos have been forced to implement various anti-virus measures, such as rigorous cleaning, opening at half-capacity, and installing protective screens at poker tables to separate customers and staff.
And what the online casino industry has gained, however, the online sportsbook industry has lost due to a huge decrease in sporting events. A sportsbook boom is expected in the coming months as games start to make a comeback- the return of German football has already demonstrated this.
By early Friday, June 5, the coronavirus had killed over 108,000 people in the US, and infected more than 1.8 million. Officials are now fearing a surge in deaths as thousands take to the street to protest police brutality.