The UK gambling industry has grown exponentially over the last couple of years. And, current trends show that is will continue to grow as the mainstream adoption of the industry is sought.
2018 statistics show that the casino industry contributed circa £137.5 billion (GBP). And, the industry directly employs over 106 thousand people per annum, including game developers, casino staff, as well as maintenance staff.
Further statistics show that there are 152 brick and mortar casinos and 8 423 sports betting shops in the UK. Finally, 46% of all UK residents have gambled in some way in the first three months of 2020.
Thus, the questions that must be asked and answered are:
- What is the impact on the environment as a result of the traditional gambling industry?
- Can, and will, the online casino model reduce the industry’s overall carbon footprint and contribute to reducing its impact on the environment?
Before we answer these questions, let’s consider a brief definition of climate change and the impact it has on the environment.
Climate change: Global warming and our carbon footprint
The national geographic website defines climate change as the “long-term shift in global or regional climate patterns.” And, it is worth noting that the increase in global temperatures from the mid-20th century is attributed to climate change.
Thus, the next question to ask and answer is, what is the cause of global warming?
Scientists believe that human activity is driving global warming by increasing the levels of greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere. The following quotation bears reference to this statement:
“Current levels of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide in our atmosphere are higher than at any point over the past 800,000 years, and their ability to trap heat is changing our climate in multiple ways.”
CO2 or Carbon Dioxide is the gas that is the most responsible for global warming, and it is primarily generated by the burning of fossil fuels like coal to generate electricity in power plants and petroleum gas from oil to drive motor vehicles.
Methane gas is released from landfill sites, agricultural activities, and natural gas and petroleum industries, while nitrous oxide is from chemical fertilizers and refrigeration gases.
Thus, to reduce global warming, we need to reduce the levels of these greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere.
The casino industry and greenhouse gasses
The traditional, or brick-and-mortar gambling industry is responsible for a percentage of the greenhouse gasses released into the atmosphere in that gamblers need to travel to the physical casino to play gambling games like poker, blackjack, and roulette.
However, the percentage of greenhouse gasses that the casino industry is responsible for is not that simple to calculate. Moreover, as a broad guideline, let's consider the following calculation and assumption:
if we assume, as highlighted above, that 46% of UK citizens partook in one or more gambling activities in the last four weeks. And, we take the total percentage of greenhouse gasses as being 100%. And 1% of the 100% is caused by one individual; then, the gambling industry is responsible for 46% of the greenhouse gasses emitted into the atmosphere.
These figures are probably quite a bit higher than the actual percentage, but they are valuable in illustrating the concept.
The argument for online gambling
Thus, this calculation provides the raison d’etre for brick-and-mortar casinos to move online. Gamblers will be able to play their favorite casino games from anywhere, including their homes. Because no transport is involved in the gambling activity, there will be a reduction, albeit minuscule, in greenhouse gas emissions.
Another vital benefit of the online casino ecosystem is pertinent to the current global COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the world’s population is under varying degrees of “shelter-in-place” or lockdown order in a desperate attempt by the world’s governments to slow down the rampant infection rate from overwhelming the world’s health systems.
Consequently, all unnecessary businesses have been ordered to close indefinitely or until this order has been lifted. The traditional casino industry is considered non-essential; thus, it has to comply with the shutdown order. The best solution to this shutdown is to move online; therefore, generating an income for the business and providing gambling pundits with the opportunity to play online casino games like blackjack, roulette, and slots.