Gambling during the pandemic

Gambling during the pandemic

The world we live in will never be the same again. If the Covid 19 pandemic were a movie, that would be its slogan. The situation had an impact on each aspect of our lives: health, food, travel, relationship, mental health… It didn’t leave out recreational activities and gambling as one of the most controversial of them.

The studies have shown that on the one hand, the expenses went down: casinos shut their doors, the borders got closed.

On the other hand, the psychological pressure of lockdowns and growing volumes of alcohol consumption made those who’d never seen a casino chip try gambling online.

We will look at how different countries approached this issue to paint a wider picture for you.

Las Vegas

Sin City has probably suffered the worst casualties of what has been happening on the planet. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics claims that the unemployment rate in Las Vegas grew by 34% after the pandemic had started.

Macau

Macau is considered the largest gambling zone in the world with the turnovers overtopping Las Vegas. In the very beginning, guests from continental China where casinos are banned spurred the prosperity of the region.

The pandemic didn’t crash the medical industry of Macau, nor did it take many lives: only 46 citizens of the region were diagnosed with Covid 19. Plus, they recovered impressively fast.

What the pandemic did destroy, though, was the gambling industry. In the past 2 years, Macau casinos lost 95% of their profit.

Australia

The Australian Covid pandemic turned into the Online Gambling epidemic. According to Illion and AlphaBeta, credit/commercial and analytical companies, since Covid 19 joined our community, Australian gamblers have been spending much more money on online gambling. And when we say ‘much more’ we mean a 300% increase of gambling expenses on average.

Taking into account the Aussie’s love of games of chance, the fact that all the land-based casinos during the pandemic were nothing else but empty halls ringing with silence didn’t stop the Number One gamblers in the world from enjoying their favourite recreational activity. They went online, even though the Australian Interactive Gambling act of 2001 prohibits online casinos.

They had no other choice: the clubs and pubs where there was a chance to place a couple of bets closed down too. At the end of the day, what else would you spend your money on in Sydney or Melbourne when you are bored to death and have plenty of time on your hands?

Sitting in a comfy armchair, using different kinds of bonuses and promos, and spinning some wheels or real money pokies … Is it the Gamblers’ Heaven or what?

Even with limited access to physical venues, the total number of gamblers in Australia rose and reached 32% as opposed to the pre-pandemic 23%.

Sweden

Overall, the world’s online gambling market value soared by about 13% in the first Covid year.

Sweden carried out a lot of surveys and research concerning online gambling and its Covid 19 raise. Although they didn’t receive any shocking data like in Australia, the governmental and mental health organisations decided to limit the deposit amounts.

During the pandemic, online players haven’t been able to transfer more than 4,000 Swedish kronas per week to online casino accounts.

In our humble opinion, it was a sign of genuine concern from the government and the measure that didn’t go against any liberal principles.

The UK

The Irish Times stated that the number of visits to one of the web pages dedicated to gambling addictions and services providing help to problem gamblers increased by 180% in 2021.

In the neighbouring UK, the reports add more telling figures to the picture: about 300 thousand people have been noticing signs of problem behavior in themselves, and 2 million British citizens have relatives or friends who have been dealing with unhealthy gambling habits. 55 thousand problem gamblers in the UK are teenagers of 11 to 16 years old.

The UK government asked the gambling industry leaders to donate money to mental health services that treat problematic gambling behaviour. As it turned out, not all the casinos were eager to invest considerably in the mental stability of the UK citizens: some of them transferred a pound – just to tick the donation box.

Since 2020 using credit cards to make casino deposits has been prohibited in the UK and Ireland.

Europe

Europe reports the most dramatic downfall in the gambling industry ever.

70% of land-based casinos were closed during the pandemic, and those few ones that were open in Spain, Monaco, and Luxembourg were burdened with numerous restrictions. A substantial chunk of profit comes to casinos from tourists. Tourists? Forget tourists, – Covid declared. 70 thousand employees who used to work in 900 gambling establishments had to start searching for a job. If we add all the restaurants, hotels, and other entertainment facilities whose business depended or was somehow connected to casinos, we will get more unemployed Europeans (about 130 thousand, according to different reports). The situation has not improved much up until now.

Final words

There are many ways to view gambling and its psychological impact. We might have said that Covid 19 had been saving us unnecessary expenses or, maybe, even rescued a couple of lives from the awful addiction. But as we see, the pandemic got to shake both sides of this industry.

In conclusion, we’d like to remind everyone who is into the thrill of chance and uncertainty: keep a cool head, limit the time and money you spend on gambling, and play responsibly.

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