Many pubs and bars in South Africa have run dry since the selling of alcohol was banned. However, some of these bars have survived through other means, such as taking advantage of the legal slotting machines. Most bars with slot machines have been able to continue operating, and make some profits by keeping the slotting machines open for gamblers. Despite banning the sale of alcohol, these bars still serve the players with soft drinks and other refreshments as they play on their on-site slot machines.
This tactic has helped most of the bars to make some money despite not being allowed to sell alcohol. Unlike casinos, most pubs cannot offset a fall in sales by relying on slot machines. Therefore, most of the bars need to find other ways of making profits to stay in business. Without any other income sources, then most of them will get out of business since for them to succeed, people need to be willing to return to socializing in pubs through drinking.
What Bars Need to Do to Survive the Lockdown
The lockdown rules have helped most bars to rethink how they can venture into other profit-making activities besides selling alcohol. Most bars have already started marketing themselves as restaurants and coffee shops to have their slot machines operate legally. This is because, under the lockdown regulations in South Africa, only casinos and legal gambling outlets are allowed to operate. Gambling in pubs and bars is considered a secondary business; hence they are only allowed to work while a bar or pub’s’ primary business is legally allowed to trade. Therefore, in cases where the primary business is closed for any reason, then gambling’s secondary business should also be closed.
Most of these regulations are only meant to prevent nightclubs from opening. Bars and pubs, on the other hand, are only prohibited from selling alcohol. Therefore, most of the bars have opted to sell pub lunches to ensure that they keep on making some money amid the lockdown regulations. However, they are expected to observe high standards of hygiene and ensure that proper social distancing measures are implemented. According to the Western Cape Gambling Board chief executive Primo Abrahams, business for bars with slot machines is currently booming. Still, but there haven’t been any new applications from other bars seeking gambling licenses at their physical premises since the lockdown started.
Why Online Gambling Outlets Are on the Rise
Recently, there is a rising interest in online gambling during the lockdown. The reason behind this is that the sports and betting industry has started showing indications of an upward trend, and most international sporting events are slowly making a comeback. The National Gambling Board has found out that there has been a decline in casino gambling SA over the past few years, but an increase in overall betting.
What the Future Holds for Bars and Pubs Amid the Lockdown Regulations
The time has come for bar owners to think about what the future holds for them, and the measures to be taken so the industry doesn’t suffer as much as it has during the lockdown in case of a similar scenario in the future. One of the things the industry should consider is to focus on technology and preference for owning rather than leasing the pubs. Focusing on owning the pubs will ensure that most companies get more resilient to economic shocks, and reduce the impact of potential similar lockdown measures in the future. Bars should also look for other alternatives to making profits other than focusing on alcohol sales alone. This could be through operating as restaurants where food and other soft drinks are sold, and also, they can take advantage of the online space by opening profitable sites like online casinos. Online gaming has recently become very popular among many people, making it a potential market for pub owners to take advantage of. Most people are currently bored and desperate; hence they are always trying to keep themselves occupied. Online games are one of the most preferred activities among the public to help them pass the time.
Will Bars Remain the Same After the Lockdown?
When bars reopen, they are likely not to be the same as they were before. Since governments’ guidance keeps on shifting each day, it is hard to say exactly how the bars will look like post-lockdown. If the social distancing measures are to be observed for the long-term, then the bars that will stand to cope best will be the big one compared to the smaller bars that will struggle to cope in the long run.