Several concerns have been raised about the increase in gambling problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in a setting with a high rate of online gambling. Similarly, there have been several health issues caused by the pandemic. The risk of mental health consequences and increased online behavior cannot be ignored.
How COVID-19 has affected the mental health
Recent research has shown that the coronavirus pandemic has worsened mental health issues. The outbreak of this deadly disease means that people have been forced to stay in their homes. Consequently, several jobs have been lost and with that, many have resorted to drinking, depression, and all kinds of addictive behaviors.
Similarly, this also means that people have also found time to engage in several leisurely activities. This has increased the rate at which people engage in online activities, including online gambling, online shopping, online classes, video games, and lots more. It is worth mentioning that with this increased rate of internet gambling comes the issue of problem gambling, which is – not only caused by the lack of an effective approach to curb excessive gambling but – a direct consequence of the restrictions surrounding the pandemic.
Unemployment also plays a significant role in the increased rate of online gambling
As mentioned above, several mechanisms, besides being confined at home, may potentially increase gambling behavior during COVID-19. This may include the resulting effects of the financial crisis and an upsurge in the rate of unemployment. Even though in some countries, gambling is only seen as a fun activity, in, the wake of the outbreak, many have seen gambling as a means to make money. This, alongside daily habits, has raised the amount of time spent on the internet.
Besides these, the plethora of bonuses that are available encourages players to engage more. For instance, the Bet365 bonus code is available for all sports and the chances of winning are significantly improved
How the epidemic has affected sport betting
The lockdown of sports events (soccer, tennis, basketball, etc.) across the globe, especially during the early stages of the epidemic significantly affected the market, inevitably leading to a decrease in the gambling of various sports events, which is quite popular among gamblers due to the prevalence of sports.
Indeed, in March 2020, certain countries took certain steps to prevent a transfer to some addictive kinds of gambling. They feared that gamblers may decide to switch to other gambling types which may push some gamblers towards a more rapid online-based type.
However, as the government of most countries becomes less strict with the COVID-19 guidelines, sports events have resumed. Soccer, for example, resumed competitive matches in mid-June 2020 in most countries in Europe. Consequently, this has boosted the rate at which people bet on sports events.
Land-based casinos were more affected than online casinos
It is not a surprise that land-based casinos suffered more during the pandemic than online casinos. This is due to lockdown restrictions, whereas gambling online does not require you to step out of your doorstep. Smartphones are very popular nowadays and are easy to purchase. This, alongside access to an internet connection, is all players need to visit an online casino – they will not be breaking any lockdown rules. While some findings have suggested that migration of gamblers from land-based casinos to online casinos was mainly due to the COVID-19 outbreak, other studies have shown that the migration had occurred before the pandemic. This was suggested to be due to some unique characteristics online casinos possess over the land-based types.
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease has caused serious health issues. In fact, it overwhelmed hospitals across the globe. Besides this, the epidemic caused a serious global crisis which led to a sharp drop in several countries’ GDP. There were also job insecurity, turmoil, and great trepidation all over the world. However, the popularity of smartphones and advancement in technology means that the pandemic only enabled people to visit online casinos more.
Furthermore, the fact that online gambling is generally unchecked remains a major issue, and the mental issues, which are the effects of the global pandemic, led to problem gambling in some cases. In fact, the cumulative impact of the epidemic has led to some predictions that the global online gambling market will grow from $58,719.56 million in 2020 to $95,023.13 million by the end of 2025. This further demonstrates that online casino gambling can only grow in influence and popularity.