After a telephone study ( Gambling participation: activities and mode of access July 2021) conducted back in September 2020, March 2021, and June 2021 the United Commission Gambling Commission (UKGC) has concluded online gambling is a ‘growing issue’.Respondents in the survey were asked to identify their gambling participation in four weeks previous had declined to fall to 41.6% from 45.1% in 2020.
Gambling Frequency Change
Gambling frequencies have also changed where more customers gambled less than once in one month. However, during the studies, all age groups had participated in at least one form of gambling increasing by 24.7% in 2021, compared to 21.9% in 2020. This figure did decline after the National Lottery figures were excluded.GamCare Chief Executive Anna Hemmings said, “This pandemic has significantly impacted gambling behaviour and it is yet unclear whether this will be a short or long-term impact.“Online gambling is a growing issue for callers to the National Gambling Helpline and we want people to know we are here for them and can help.”
Gambling Decline During Lockdown
During the lockdowns, gambling declined significantly after businesses within the gambling sector had to close for almost a Year. In-house casino gaming declined by 1.1% compared to 1.3% in 2020. People betting on football at venues also declined to 4.9%.Even though the figures are heading in the right direction the UKGC said there had only been a slight reduction in the problem gambling rate from 0.5% to 0.4% with moderate risk gamblers falling to 0.7% from 1.4% in 2020.Hemmings said, “We know people recovering from gambling harms can find it difficult to enjoy live sport. Today’s figures do not cover the most recent Euro’s tournament, so we will continue to monitor for a potential rise in callers over the next few months, with many upcoming sports events over the Summer and the reopening of betting shops and casinos, coupled with the difficulties people have experienced in the pandemic.”
The UKGC feels many may have picked up new gambling habits due to the lockdowns that may be more difficult to change as things ease back to normal. Operators need to be more alert in identifying gambling habit changes through its monitoring tools.