TMCnet Feature
July 23, 2020

Imagine if Amazon, Google or Facebook Opened an Online Casino

Now is a great time to be running an online casino. With bricks and mortar sites around the world forced to close down due to the coronavirus crisis, more people are gambling online.

It is very possible that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is that the gambling industry pivots to online casino sites in a major way during 2020 and beyond as a result.

Bricks and mortar casinos are facing lots of difficulties as, even when they have the green light to reopen their doors, they will have to make massive changes to keep staff and customers safe. Just as in the travel, insurance and shopping industries, the biggest players are sure to fall.

Online casinos therefore seem certain to be the future of the industry, with the flexibility they offer welcomed by people who like to play games such as roulette and blackjack.

Gambling companies are making moves to take advantage, but what if global giants like Amazon, Google or Facebook (News - Alert) wanted to enter the industry - what would that look like?

Facebook already running social games

The social gaming industry is estimated by Statista to be worth almost $2.5 billion by the end of 2020, so it is not a surprise to see Facebook has already entered this sector.

Facebook Gaming has emerged as a major challenger to Twitch, which became the frontrunner in the streaming arena over the last few years. The power of Facebook - which is one of the world's biggest companies - could well see the tables turned in the future, however.

Donovan Mitchell and Zach LaVine are among the NBA stars to have existing partnerships with Facebook Gaming, which also recently signed up Julian Edelman (News - Alert) of NFL team the New York Giants, WNBA player Brittney Griner and USWNT footballer Allie Long.

Evan Shugerman, head of athlete sports partnerships at Facebook, indicated that the deals will help to raise money for COVID-19 relief efforts. He said: "Athletes continue to be remarkable forces for good on social media and we’re excited for this particular group to use Facebook Gaming this summer to entertain fans and raise money for incredibly important causes."

With Facebook Gaming becoming a powerhouse, is it out of the question that the company pivots towards gambling at some point? Facebook considers itself to be universal, while gambling is not legal in all countries, so that could be a potential barrier.

But the difference between social gaming and gambling at an online casino is not so big that Facebook could not cross over at some point.

Online casinos the natural next step for Amazon?

The coronavirus crisis has proven to be a boom time for Amazon, which created more than 175,000 jobs during the pandemic in order to meet rising demand.

Amazon was already a dominant figure in the world of online shopping but people have become increasingly reliant on the company during lockdown.

While the company has faced some criticism for the perception that some staff were not being kept safe enough, Amazon has become even more ubiquitous in the past few months.

Billionaire boss Jeff Bezos, however, says any extra profit earned by the company during this time will be wiped out as a result of increased costs such as spending on safety equipment.

That could mean Amazon may look to branch out into other industries to extend its dominance of the online world, so could gambling be the next sector it looks to enter?

An Amazon casino might feel like it is a stretch given the company is essentially a gigantic online marketplace, but Bezos has made plenty of unexpected moves in the past.

One barrier could be that an operator is already using the name Amazon Slots!

Google (News - Alert) gives green light to online casino ads in America

Late last year, Google confirmed it would be allowing online casino advertising by operators. This was a major step change for the company, which has struggled in the past to get to grips with the changing legislation of online gambling across the United States.

More and more states are opening up to online gambling after the landmark ruling by the Supreme Court, though progress has been surprisingly slow in the industry since then.

Google taking ads from online casinos could change things, though, making it easier for them to reach potential customers. But could Google even step in and launch its own online casino?

It does seem unlikely, with Google - much like Facebook - mainly focused on making its money from global online advertising. However, with online gambling estimated to become one of the fastest growing industries of the coming years, perhaps Google will smell an opportunity here.

What is for sure is online casino operators would not welcome companies as large, rich and powerful as Amazon, Google or Facebook muscling in on their territory.

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