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Study shows that online gambling increased during blocking, especially among regular gamblers


Regular gamblers were more than six times more likely to gamble online than before the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new study.

The study, led by the University of Bristol and published today (May 17) at Journal of Gambling Studies, showed regular male gamblers were particularly prone to gambling more often online during public blocking in the UK, compared to their previously reported gambling habits.

Although men and women generally played games less frequently during blocking, in part due to the closure of betting shops, some forms of gambling increased. For example, the use of online gambling, including poker, bingo and casino games, increased sixfold among regular players. Respondents who gambled occasionally were still found to be more than twice as likely as before to play online games. Those who fought financially before the pandemic were more likely to report gambling during the blockade.

Lead author Professor Alan Emond, of the University of Bristol School of Medicine, said: “This study provides unique real-time insights into how attitudes and behaviors of gambling changed during blocking when everyone was stuck inside and unable to take findings in most social activities.the findings reveal that although many forms of gambling were limited, a minority of regular gamblers significantly increased their gambling and online bets.As with so many consequences of the pandemic, inequalities have worsened and particularly vulnerable groups are affected worse. “

Comparative research used two online questionnaires during the first blockade in 2020, which surveyed the same group of adults, on average 28 years old, who had previously been asked similar questions about pre-pandemic gambling as part of the study known to children of the ’90s, also known as the Avon Longitudinal Study for Parents and Children (ALSPAC).

More than 2,600 adults responded and the results found that during the blockade men were three times more likely than women to gamble regularly, defined as more than once a week. Large drinking, defined as more than six units in one session (equivalent to more than three beer drinks) at least once a week, was strongly associated with regular gambling between men and women. These trends are likely to be much greater in reality, as the majority (70 percent) of respondents in the blockchain surveys were women.

Professor Emond, a public health expert, said: “The strong link between excessive drinking and regular gambling is of particular concern, as they are both addictive behaviors which can have serious health and social consequences. With more availability “Through gambling through various online channels, vulnerable groups can be caught in a destructive cycle. A public health approach is needed to minimize the harm of gambling.”

The research is based on other evidence, including the YouGov Covid-19 tracking study, which found that regular gamblers turned to new online options during blocking. Data from the Gambling Commission obtained from the UK’s largest gambling operators also showed increased revenue during blocking for online gambling, especially in esports, which gained dramatically in popularity after live sports betting events were suspended. Previous research in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, led by the University of Bristol, has found that children are particularly concerned with gambling advertising on social media.

Internet advertising expert and co-author Agnes Nairn, professor of marketing at the University of Bristol School of Management, said: “The results of this study and the most widely reported trends are quite alarming. As gambling habits shift online, groups vulnerable including children and adults who drink heavily can be more easily absorbed in these channels.The increased proliferation of work at home is also an important policy consideration in the future, as the temptation to play online game, i amplified by smart ads, it ‘s always there.Children are also falling prey to this ad, especially for esports, on social media and can get stuck in addictive habits from an early age.Stricter regulation in this area is needed in increase to protect unwanted consumers. ”

Alison Clare, Director of Research, Information and Knowledge at GambleAware, said: “We know that gambling is part of the daily lives of vulnerable children, young people and adults, and this research sheds further light on the impact of Covid GambleAware is committed to ensuring that all those affected by the harm of gambling have access to the information and advice they need.All organizations, including the National Gambling Service, are committed to “Health and charities need to work together to reduce stigma and raise awareness of the help and support that is available through the National Gambling Treatment Service.”


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