An online gambling study conducted by the University of Bristol has revealed that regular gamblers were six times more likely to gamble online during lockdown in the UK.
Published by the Journal of Gambling Studies, the report highlighted that – while gambling has decreased overall in the pandemic – online gambling saw a six-fold increase in its popularity among regular gamblers.
Lockdown cited as the main cause of the increase
Those who habitually gambled before were especially prolific. Meanwhile, those who only gambled occasionally were twice more likely to engage in online gambling. This includes playing bingo, poker, and casino games.
“This study provides unique real-time insights into how people’s attitudes and gambling behaviour changed during lockdown, when everyone was stuck inside and unable to participate in most social activities,” stated Professor Alan Emond from the University of Bristol’s medical school.
He continued: “The findings reveal that although many forms of gambling were restricted, a minority of regular gamblers significantly increased their gambling and betting online. As with so many repercussions of the pandemic, inequalities have been exacerbated and particularly vulnerable groups were worse affected.”
Protecting the vulnerable and disadvantaged
The study was conducted on a group of 2600 participants who were aged 28 years old on average. The research also discovered that men were three times more likely to engage in regular online gambling than women were during lockdown.
“With the wider availability of gambling through different online channels, vulnerable groups could get caught in a destructive cycle. A public health approach is needed to minimise gambling harms,” Professor Emond added.
Following on from this news, iGaming industry professionals need to ensure they are doing everything they can to prevent gambling-related harm.