Study Shows Significant Drop in Live Gambling Due to Pandemic
While we know that online gambling has exploded in 2020, the numbers surrounding live gambling have been a bit debated. A University of Sydney study last week shows that gambling numbers are down since the pandemic has resumed. However, the impact of COVID-19 on live gambling as a whole was a bit less precise.
That’s now changed thanks to a study from Australian National University. According to that study, live gambling dropped by over 2.6 million punters during the pandemic. While those numbers have risen since restrictions were lifted, numbers are still down from pre-pandemic numbers.
Live Gambling Down 2.6 Million Punters Due to Pandemic
Australian National University has released a study looking at the impact of the pandemic on live gambling numbers across Australia. According to that report, live gambling is down by over 2.7 million players. Prior to the beginning of the pandemic, approximately 66 percent of Aussies were gambling. That number dropped to 53 percent during the pandemic.
The study goes a bit deeper than studies published in recent months. From April 2019 through May 2020, gambling was down across the board. The study shows that 2.7 million fewer adults were buying raffle tickets. Approximately 1.7 fewer adults were playing the lottery during that time. Pokies showed a drop of 1.6 million players.
According to Professor Nicholas Biddle, a lead researcher for the study, “When you look at the types of gambling that has changed the most, it is very much an access issue.” All live casinos shut down earlier in the year. Venues stayed shut for six months.
When venues reopened, the live gambling rate saw a sharp increase, going up to 59 percent. That’s still down seven percent from before the pandemic. Some of this is fueled by the increase in gambling at Australian online casinos. Meanwhile, there are still some that are taking precautions to protect against coronavirus exposure.
Pandemic Helped to Decrease Other Risky Behaviors
One would assume that the pandemic would lead to more people smoking and drinking. Various reports claim that alcohol sales skyrocketed in the early weeks of the pandemic. However, the ANU study seems to shoot down these assumptions.
According to the study, fewer people are smoking and drinking during the pandemic. As stated by Professor Biddle, “There was a reduction in a range of what we call risk-taking behaviours. We found a decrease in alcohol consumption, decrease in smoking, and a fall in gambling.”
Interestingly enough, the increase in alcohol sales was not people wanting to drink their worries away, but rather a hoarding attitude that was seen throughout the early weeks of the pandemic. For example, there were many stores that ran out of basic necessities like toilet paper. It appears that panic buying rolled over to alcohol.
“It’s true people were purchasing more alcohol but they weren’t necessarily consuming it, so it was part of the hoarding behaviour as people were concerned the liquor stores were going to close.”
Study Seems to Indicate Players Were More Responsible During Pandemic
If you look at the numbers from the study, one could infer that players are showing good judgment during this pandemic. Rather than risking money on activities like gambling, they are holding on to that money for bills and other life necessities.
The change in smoking and drinking behavior is very encouraging as those activities can lead to other poor decision making. Drunk players tend to take more risk and often gamble away more money.
While some of the results were to be expected due to shutdowns, it still should be viewed positively. Gamblers are making better choices, which helps to prevent problem gambling and reduce the pitfalls associated with gambling.
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