New Study Looks at How We Gamble During Lockdown

A new study has revealed that one in three people increased their level of gambling during the first UK lockdown. The study has been carried out by Stirling and Glasgow University. It paints an interesting picture of how lockdown affected gambling habits.

The new study used the YouGov site with 3084 men and 782 women surveyed. It looked at their pre-lockdown behaviour from December 2019 to February 2020. Then that was compared with gambling behaviour from March 23 to mid-June 2020 when lockdown was in force.

The pre-lockdown part of the survey revealed that sports betting was the main area of gambling. 78.8% of men and 61.4% of women indulged in trying to predict the results of sports events.

One aim of the study was to see the effects of the gambling industry’s marketing campaigns on gambling. The companies did reduce marketing levels amid fears they could take advantage of people being at home for most of the time. There is still plenty of advertising being carried out though.

Around one in six people who had already been betting on sport, found a new way to gamble during the March to June 2020 lockdown. 17.3% of men and 16.5% of women doing so.

That’s not surprising as the top sports events were put on hold. Bookmakers keen to keep offering betting opportunities started promoting their casinos more heavily. Without the big guns from the top football league and no tennis or basketball either, it was a difficult time for both gamblers and the online gambling sites.

5.4% of the men surveyed switched from sports betting to playing lotteries instead. For women, that rose to 6.5%. Another popular switch was to be trying to get a few full houses on bingo sites. 3.4% of the women surveyed did that, probably because the bingo halls they went too were closed during lockdown.

Not every gambler continued to be looking to place wagers during that lockdown period. 29.8% of men and 33.4% of women stopped gambling while the first national lockdown took place.  Perhaps if they couldn’t bet on the top sporting action, they didn’t want to gamble at all. Not everyone who bets on sports wants to turn to roulette or poker. Nor were they that thrilled about betting on the Belarus Premier League and other obscure football leagues around the world.

The minority of gamblers who found other betting opportunities are described as being “gamblers at risk.”

This study follows in the footsteps of another from the UK Gambling Commission. That reported a 42% decrease in 2020 in the retail sector. Hardly surprising considering the number of months High Street bookmakers were closed. The study revealed a 3% increase in the numbers gambling online.

The two studies are all part of providing information that will aid the review of the Gambling Act 2005. Data for lockdown in the second half of 2020 also showed an increase in online gambling. By then the major sporting events were back, so more betting opportunities were available. More on this subject in the weeks and months ahead.