Published On: Tue, May 12th, 2020

Covid-19 alters gambling behaviors around the globe

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Reports from all around the world suggest that gambling at online casinos has risen to new all-time highs. Governments and authorities are worried about more people getting into addiction and financial despair. That is why is it only recommended to bet at trusted online operators considered as the best online casino sites. This seems to be true for most countries with regulations and proper statistics to rely on, but it doesn’t necessarily include all of them.

The coronavirus outbreak, which was first detected in China, has infected people in 185 countries. Apart from the tragic human consequences, we are facing the highest unemployment rate since the 1930s. Due to the corona pandemic, all other news has been secondary. Such as OPEC’s failure to agree on oil production which has led to an oil price war that brings WTI oil futures below zero for the first time in history. Besides, this problem has had a substantial negative impact on one of the world’s biggest industries as well.

Not all industries are affected negatively by the pandemic, according to Times of Malta, many of the online gambling operators are reporting all-time highs. Gambling operators and gambling platforms noted on stock markets that they are showing very positive results for Q1, 2020. Stocks in gambling companies are known for being resistant in recessions according to stockbrokers and investors.

With all these factors in consideration, it’s easy to understand the standpoint of authorities when it comes to online gambling. As an example, the Swedish authorities are reporting that they are going to lower the deposit amount a player can do weekly substantially, something that will last throughout the year.  Other countries around the world have also made similar changes or are planning to do so.

But are some or maybe all these actions uncalled for? I believe that any business that has been able to stay open and operate during this pandemic has been very profitable. Most people have been in quarantine or under very strict distancing rules. People haven’t been able to go to the cinema, restaurants, to buy a new car or even do some home improvements and remodeling. Most people have been left with a whole lot of more disposable income together with boredom. As a result, it seems quite obvious that these people will try to find some sort of entertainment. Amazon announced that they were looking to hire another 75.000 employees due to higher demand during corona. In comparison, 24/7 online gambling gives an instant outlet to many people being stuck in quarantine. 

New Zealand was one of the countries that initially started with a strict quarantine when the pandemic was a fact resulting in very few cases and deaths. Contradictory to what most other countries report, New Zealand has had a decline in online gambling according to the distinguished market research company Nielsen and the government’s Health Promotion Agency. Just 9% indicate that they have gambled more than usual, with 41% playing at the same level as before and 50% claiming they have played less during the lockdown.

The only demographic that seems to see an increase in gambling are those aged between 18 and 24, where 22% said that they gambled more.

Some people also indicated that they have played online for the first time. And it makes perfect sense since all brick and mortar casinos are closed. 

It is our belief that the low number of participants in the survey together with the stigmatization of gamblers can be a reason for seeing these results. Gamblers tend to underestimate that amount of losses and habits when being asked about it. 

The summary is that the rise in profits in the gambling industry is completely natural. The all-time high we are seeing now will go down eventually with an increased unemployment rate and lower disposable income. The alarms from governments around the world around gambling are inflated by not looking at the macroeconomic conditions that we are currently in.

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