On Sunday night, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a move back to the adjusted Level 3 lockdown from the adjusted Level 4. It brought along many long-awaited changes in entertainment and theatres, cinemas, and galleries can re-open.
The announcement brought huge relief to the cinema and theatre industry in the country been decimated by the Level 4 lockdown regulations. Cinema brands such as Ster-Kinekor, Nu Metro and Cine Centre are struggling and Ster-Kinekor already entered the business rescue programme voluntary at the start of 2021. Under the adjusted level 3, museums, galleries, libraries, casinos, and cinemas can open from Monday.
50% Capacity Only – Closing 21:00
However, the venues are limited to a 50% capacity and must close for business at 21:00 to allow visitors and workers to reach their homes before the 22:00 curfew. Even under the adjusted Level 3 lockdown rules, nightclubs stay closed and spectators at sports events are taboo.
Venues such as casinos allow gambling at every second or third slot machine and some may follow the worldwide trend of reopening smoke-free to reduce respiratory risk. Understandably all casinos are eager to welcome players and to offer them a healthy and safe experience. Many consider making no smoking indoors part of their plan.
The new lockdown rules also permit alcohol sales during weekdays, no sales on weekends, Fridays or public holidays, previously illegal under lockdown level 4. Casinos, bars, and restaurants can serve alcohol until 20h00.
Betting Habit Changes in South Africa Due to Lockdown Regulations
Online gambling provides South Africans with a much safer environment than crowded land-based casinos. Staying indoors is the new norm and keeping your distance brings hope of slowing down the spread of covid. Most gamblers no longer consider going to land-based casinos since licensed online casinos offer a much larger variety of table games and slot machines.
South Africans love the challenge of participating in leaderboard challenges and online tournaments. It is not only a matter of covid forcing people to discover other forms of online entertainment, but most also agree that they won’t return to the limited variety of gambling options at their local casinos. Punters feel more pampered at online casinos via an array of bonus offers, promotions and regular rewards for their loyalty.
Land-Based Casino Future is Uncertain in South Africa
Online casinos are less affected by the pandemic, and some are even benefitting from it. Land-based casinos are suffering and experiencing a massive drop in revenue from it. The two main concerns are lack of funds and unemployment.
If you’d search for a silver lining, a great example is the Great Depression in which gambling experienced its most significant period of growth in the United States. There are no signs that gambling has slowed down in South Africa, it’s more a very clear indication that it has shifted from land-based to safer and more convenient online casinos. It could mean a permanent move after thousands if not millions discovered that they could enjoy their favourite pastime and remain at home with their families.