Is Online Gambling Spending Going Down During the Pandemic?
How has your online life changed since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic? Do you now work at home? Are you chatting with friends and family primarily online? Or maybe you’re playing at online casinos in Australia a bit more often.
Depending on the organization reporting, online gambling is either drastically up during the pandemic or it’s sharply down. Which is it? Today we take a look at this and give our take on the matter.
ACMA Now Claiming that Online Gambling is Down During Pandemic
The ACMA is in the news lately for a study surrounding online activity during the pandemic. Many of the numbers in the study are not all that surprising. The first being that 99% of people are now online. Only 90% of Australians were online last year. This number is not shocking due to quarantines and mandatory lockdowns.
Other numbers that were of interest include:
- Social networking app use up to 72% from 63% last year.
- Telehealth consultations up 84%.
- Communication app usage rose from 67% to 77%.
- 65% of Australians now work from home.
- 91% of Australians use their mobile devices to access the internet.
Even land line telephone usage went up, although just slightly. It is safe to say that every aspect of life went more virtual. That is except for online gambling.
What are Aussie's spending their money on amid the pandemic?
Online gambling and beauty products.
— Gamble Online (@GambleOnlineINT) June 16, 2020
According to the ACMA, 22% of people surveyed gambled less during the pandemic up until June 2020 and 34% gambled less since June 2020. If you look at these numbers, it would seem that general online gambling dropped yes?
A couple of telling stats in this review was the number of people that started gambling for the first time and those that increased their gambling. Up until June, 2% of people surveyed increased gambling, while 19% decreased gambling. After June, 8% started gambling for the first time while 12% increased their gambling.
Why Are the ACMA Numbers Different Than Other Reports
If you were to read the ACMA report, you’d think that people don’t care as much for online gambling as they did. However, a report from the credit bureau Illion told a different story. They were the group that revealed a 67% increase in online gaming during the pandemic.
So what is the difference in the report data? The difference is that the ACMA is taking the word of people in their study while Illion’s study is following the money. Illion looked at the amount of money spent on various activities and discovered a major increase in online gambling spending.
Canberra Times (Australia): "An analysis of Australian banking transaction data, collated by analytics consultancy AlphaBeta and credit firm Illion, found a 114 per cent increase in spending on online gambling in the third week of May"https://t.co/lZHKuIitUQ via @canberratimes
— Janne Nikkinen (@DocNikkinen) May 23, 2020
This takes away credibility from the ACMA study as they examined the human element. When it comes to gambling, there are many that like to keep those activities private. As such, they are not going to tell the whole truth about their gambling habits.
Also, some do not see certain forms of gambling as true gambling. Those that play the lottery once a week for $1 will not view it as gambling in the same light as someone that deposits $100 a week at online casinos. Then there are those that don’t want to reveal any details of their financial situation in fear of repercussions. Of course, you will have those that deposit online and win some money. If you actually win some money gambling online, is it really gambling? Some will argue it is not.
The reasons behind differing answers vary, but the fact remains that many will not be completely honest. Ultimately, the ACMA will report findings in the best way to meet their goals. Keep in mind that many government reports are skewed as pertaining to gambling, so take any findings with a grain of salt.