From the moment Covid-19 entered our lives, the speculations started: how long will we practice social distancing? When will our lives return to normal? And how might this pandemic affect us in the long run?
When it comes to poker (and gambling in general), there was one question most experts tried to answer: will fans keep playing poker online even once all restrictions are lifted?
Well, two years after the pandemic changed the course of our lives, things are finally settling down and going back to normal. Now, we have enough data to try and answer the pressing question: did Covid change the way we play poker forever? Or was it just a phase? Let's find out!
What the Numbers Show
Not all US states share their online poker revenues with the public, so it's hard to say if the phenomenon is as widespread as it seems. But the states that do share their monthly gambling revenues show one thing: online poker is far more popular than it was before the pandemic.
In Delaware, for example, the first six months of 2022 showed a growth of 3.3% in year-over-year revenue. Let's remember that the online poker market in the Mid-Atlantic state is small, so even the small increase is impressive. But if you look at online gaming as a whole, Delaware showed a growth of 27.7% in the past six months, which means that players are still favoring online casinos over other gambling options.
New Jersey, on the other hand, is one of the only states that saw a 6% decrease in online poker revenues compared to last year. It seems as if local players still prefer land-based casinos over online venues, but only time will tell if the market might crash and burn once Covid is no longer at the forefront of our minds.
And when you look at Pennsylvania, you might get confused by the fluctuating numbers. Online poker revenue in the state skyrocketed in early 2020 due to Covid, but it quickly dropped a few months later. Now, it seems as if the online poker market is recuperating, but the numbers keep changing on a monthly basis. Overall, revenues increased by 18.06% compared to last year, which is worth noting.
What the Numbers Mean
So far, it seems as if online gambling maintains its popularity. Apparently, some people still prefer to enjoy some online action, even though there are no more social restrictions denying us the ability to participate in live poker events.
Why is that? There are three possible answers that might explain the phenomenon:
- The pandemic showed people that you might enjoy your favorite game with less fuss: you can access the best online gambling venues within a few seconds, enjoy the comfort of your own home, and so on.
- Even though restrictions have been lifted, Covid is still present in our lives. On August 8, 135,412 new Covid cases were reported, which is nothing compared to the pandemic's peak, but it is still a significant number. Some players might still feel that online poker is the safest option to choose.
- Before the pandemic, a lot of people categorized themselves as technophobic. But in the past two years, everyone had to get comfortable using the internet to perform even the most basic tasks like shopping or getting a doctor's appointment. Now that the internet seems more accessible than ever before, some poker players might feel more comfortable placing their bets online.
Online poker is still going strong, even though live games are back on. Will it remain this popular in years to come? Let's wait and see!