The world-wide coronavirus pandemic and limitations, associated with it, resulted in restricted access to casinos and sports wagering in Australia, with onsite gambling places closed on an interim basis and big sporting events canceled or suspended. To realize the way in which COVID-19 affected the gambling industry, and how players took to the changed wagering availability, the Australian Gambling Research Centre (in cooperation with the Institute of Family Studies) conducted a survey questionnaire of more than 2 thousand respondents who bet and play casino games from all over Australia during summer 2020. The centre representatives also talked to mainstream experts working in the sphere of betting study and legislation.
The main aim of the questionnaire was to find out more about the product kinds people placed bets on before and during the pandemic (for instance, sporting events, racing, slot machines, etc.), and how betters’ gameplay experience, alcohol intake, physical condition and/or sane mind were influenced. Hopefully, the research conclusions will help to regulate the growth of an online industry segment, adopt proper legislation and actions to reduce betting-related detrimental effects in the country.
In accordance with the Australian Gambling Research Centre survey (2020), the obtained results are as follows:
- Almost one person in three of the survey questionnaire respondents underwent at least one registration at betting websites during lockdowns. Besides, 1 in 20 began gambling on rising online platforms like CasinoChan.
- Even with restricted admission to onsite venues, generally speaking, the participants play more frequently during the coronavirus pandemic. The percentage of those who registered at gambling websites and placed bets through them 4+ times per week increased from 22% to 32%.
- What is of concern, around 80% of the respondents were categorized as facing a risk of betting-related detrimental effects.
- Young men (at the age of 18 to 35 years) are more prone to fall for the advertising of casino games and sports gambling, increase the frequency and monthly expenditure on wagering, and face a risk of betting-related detrimental effects.
- The study has shown that the average monthly expenditure on wagering increased from $500-600 to $1,100.
- Horse running, wagering on sporting events, dog track, lotto and bingo are the major products that the players placed bets on before and during lockdowns.
- Almost 50% of the questionnaire respondents stated that their state of health and/or sane mind had been adversely affected due to lockdowns.
- Mainstream experts pointed out that the temporary closure of slot gaming venues had become a sort of “quick win” for some bettors. The benefits of lockdowns include a larger budget for goods of prime necessity and increased savings.
- Survey respondents and mainstream experts suggested some solutions to minimize betting-related detrimental effects, including a decrease in the access and marketing/advertising of gambling platforms, and the adoption of stern measures to protect consumers’ rights.