As the future of the gambling industry is in danger, poker pros rally together to help out those who are affected by the drastic - and potentially life-altering - changes.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the gambling industry in multiple ways. While online poker venues report an increase in the number of new players, land-based casinos are expected to suffer some major losses.
According to the American Gaming Association, gambling venues across the US are expected to lose more than $21 billion in revenue, as approximately 94% of the commercial casinos and 37% of tribal casinos remain closed for the time being.
That means that there are more than 530,000 casino employees – card dealers, managers, waiting staff, etc. – who are now unemployed. Since there is no telling when gambling venues will resume operations, all those people have no idea whether they will be able to pay their bills on time.
But luckily, the poker community is known for its ability to come together in times of need, and this time is no different.
How Poker Pros Try to Help Out
The first to think about the well-being of employees in the industry was Katie Stone, a renowned poker player who came up with the idea to start a Discord channel. It allows those affected by the situation to share their thoughts and concerns, and ask for help when needed.
But Stone is not the only member of the poker online community to lend a helping hand. Bryn Kenney, another professional poker player, tweeted that he was willing to financially assist freelancers, business owners, and other people who were influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another poker pro who had a similar offer is Cy Watson, as he tweeted that he wanted to support businesses and side hustles by becoming a customer of those businesses that get very little orders nowadays.
Players like Phil Galfond and Ryan LaPlante offered free poker lessons, while Alex Livingston announced he was willing to help struggling families with kids.
Stone also stated that she received plenty of private messages from people willing to contribute as much as they can, which serves to show how supportive the gambling community can be in these hard times.
There is no telling when the Coronavirus crisis will pass and when the US gambling industry will recover from the aftermath of such catastrophic changes.
While thousands of poker employees have been left without a job, they recently found out they are not alone in the fight against the unknown. As the entire online poker community rallies around them, there is room to be optimistic and hope that the human spirit will prevail.