The healthcare crisis of 2020 has affected pretty much everyone across Europe, and Spain was no exception. Now Spanish casinos are opening their doors, but is it safe?
Spain Suffers COVID-19 Rise, Yet Casinos Open
During the height of the pandemic COVID-19 swept across Europe, and every country was affected. Lockdowns were imposed across the continent, and one of the strictest was in Spain. The Iberian peninsula had been heavily impacted by the healthcare crisis, and it was with huge relief that the stringent lockdown was finally brought to an end. Businesses, including entertainment venues such as brick and mortar casinos, opened their doors once more and people resumed some level of normality in their daily lives.
However, this is now looking like a tenuous situation, as cases of the disease are rising once more in Spain. People are being urged to follow isolation guidelines if they’re awaiting test results, to try and help slow down the progress of the virus. Keen bettors looking forward to returning to casinos may prefer to opt for online betting sites, for the sake of safety.
The increasing popularity of European online casinos has only accelerated in 2020 thanks to the COVID-19 lockdowns removing many leisure activities and simultaneously enforcing isolation and time off work for millions of people. Players from around the world, including Spanish and other EU players as well can play a great variety of games in safety online. The best European casinos welcome new players with a plethora of promotions from free cash to match bonuses that augment the initial deposit(s) a player makes. Unconfined by a physical site, online betting establishments boast an unrivalled array of games for European players to try, and there’s a wide range of thematic and gameplay variations. Whether you’re an old school card shark who loves poker, blackjack, and other table games, or a slots fanatic always after the latest games, playing at online casinos offers all you could want, and with no risk of contracting COVID-19.
The Potential Impact of a Second Lockdown
Spain underwent one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, enduring substantial economic difficulties and hardship for individuals to arrest the first spike of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sadly, cases have been recently rising and people fear that a second lockdown may be necessary. Both by dint of fortnightly infection rate and new cases, Spain is at the forefront of the virus’ return to Europe. It remains to be seen whether a second lockdown would be nationwide or imposed on a more regional basis. Already, residents of Madrid’s most virulent areas have been advised to remain in their homes. In other regions new caps have been placed on social gatherings to try and slow down the spread of the disease.
On the economic front, there are fears that the rising number of cases and potential second lockdown could have a calamitous effect on the economy. COVID-19 is primarily a health crisis, but it’s also a social and economic crisis that has seen increased isolation, economic damage, and seen many countries rack up huge debts as they try and support populations and businesses rocked by the disease.
Advantages of Online Casinos
The global pandemic highlights one of the biggest current advantages that online betting establishments enjoy over their traditional, real world counterparts: resilience in the face of COVID-19 and safety for players. The remote aspects of online betting means there’s no danger of encountering crowds of individuals, no fear they won’t follow social distancing rules, and no threat that frequently handled chips, cards, dice, or slot machine buttons will carry the virus.
Likewise, most online betting sites today are fully mobile compatible, so you can effectively carry the casino in your pocket rather than travel miles to reach an individual site. And internet casinos aren’t limited by the confines of a physical footprint, so there’s no upper limit on the number of slot machines and gaming tables accessible any time of the day or night (because online casinos never shut their doors, in stark contrast to brick and mortar ones).
This also means that players wanting the greatest possible variety will always find more looking on the internet, with many sites offering hundreds or even thousands of slots. Table games, particularly blackjack and roulette, are present in abundant variations. Better yet, those who want to experience the upsides of both styles of play can make use of live dealer games to combine the live atmosphere with the comfort, convenience, and safety of playing from home (or out and about if you’re a smartphone enthusiast).
At the time of writing, a second lockdown has been ruled out by Health Minister Salvador Illa who said at the end of August that the current situation does not threaten the health system. However, as we have seen before, the numbers can rapidly rise and it’s as well to be circumspect.
Things Expats Should Know
It behoves expats to be aware of some differences between UK and Spanish casinos, both the brick and mortar and online establishments. For example, many British casinos are open all through the night and into the morning, whereas that may not be the case in Spain. Similarly, Spanish betting establishments may enforce a dress code, so do be sure to check beforehand if you decide to risk visiting one, to avoid the embarrassment of being turned back at the door.
Regional restrictions do apply to online gambling, which may complicate matters. If you want to play online in Madrid it’s required to be a tax resident of the city and play with a house registered in the vicinity.
All in all, online casinos have a lot to recommend them over real world establishments, and that’s never been truer than today. In addition to convenience and range of games, the remote aspect makes them the safe option.