Take a country that is wet and windy for the majority of the year and sprinkle in a health crisis that has kept many locked up through the hotter months, and it’s no surprise that many will turn to alternative forms of entertainment to stay busy – but this change has been happening over the past few years, and the coronavirus pandemic may only serve to accelerate this.
This gambling pandemic has largely come through the widespread use of mobile devices and the changing audience that has grown alongside them, the demographic for online betting and casinos has heavily shifted in recent years as these games are now starting to attract an older audience, with women gamers now being a primary cause for concern. With the lockdown measures brought about by the coronavirus, there are concerns many will also turn to mobile gambling as a way simply to cure boredom, with sporting events returning in a big way it adds yet another avenue for players to pursue.
There have been efforts to reduce the growing numbers too, recently a credit card ban was issued for online gambling and betting, which has went alongside a recent change to Gamstop, an initiative launched at reducing participation for problem gamblers, was put in place to make it mandatory for operators to register or be at risk of losing their gaming license – as many attempt to circumvent this change, operators have chosen to register outside of the UK, this is a useful list of them but with the option to do so has done little to curb the growing problem. There have also been other recent changes during the pandemic, as it had been requested that operators cancel their advertising on TV and Radio to reduce exposure during a time where players were deemed more at risk.
(Image from calvinayre.com)
Amidst fears of an opportunity for players to be taken advantage of, there are some interesting numbers however – it has been suggested that 2% of UK adults have stopped gambling on these services in the past two or three months, compared to the 0.2% who had started in the same period of time. Similarly there are suggestions that for 75% of recent gamblers have not increased either time or money spent on these games since April – these numbers may be heavily skewed, however, as sports betting was still inactive during this period of time. It’s likely now that football is being played once more with other big UK events such as horse racing and F1 returning, there will once again be a big shift as punters return to sports betting, as such it may take another few weeks to gain a clear picture of how the sector and market is looking overall – as mentioned earlier, however, the general expectation is that this pandemic will cause an acceleration of newer players, and an acceleration of what is being deemed as a huge gambling problem within the country.