The COVID-19 pandemic has affected almost every area of life, and this includes the online gambling industry. Many regular online gamblers are now gambling more frequently, and many other people are signing up as online gamblers.
This is not unexpected as people have been ordered to stay at home. They require activities to keep themselves busy and online gambling is one that can engage them. It does not just engage them but also gives chances to win prizes. The lockdown has evidently had an impact on the online gambling industry.
Gamblers Are Switching Fully To Online Casinos
The online casino market has experienced a result different from many other markets. Many game players were already regular at online casinos before the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease. Now that their governments have asked them to stay at home, online casinos have experienced a boom in the number of new gamblers and an increase in overall activity.
People who were regular players at physical casinos have had no choice but to take the online alternative. A recent movement, Clean Up Gambling, has raised concerns after a recent survey that the lockdown may be increasing the risk of people getting addicted to gambling on online casinos.
According to the survey, about 64% of regular online gamblers have continued to gamble at the same rate or have increased their gambling. About 41% of these regular gamblers have opened new gambling accounts on online casinos. And more than one-third of them believe they were spending too much gambling.
In New Jersey, internet gambling revenue (excluding sports betting) in March rose 66%. The state reported how online casinos made about $65 million in March alone. Many other countries and regions where online gambling is legal to have also experienced the same increase. The number of players on Canadian online casinos has also been increasing, even though the country has an estimate of over 18 million people already gambling online.
Another country, Sweden, has found many isolated individuals turning to online casino sites for entertainment. The government officials confirmed the increase in the use of online slot machines and casino games. However, they decided to introduce a limit on how much game players could gamble on online casinos for the duration of the COVID-19 lockdown. Their plan is to limit the gambling amount to 5,000 Swedish crowns (495 USD) a week.
A Drastic Change In Sports Betting
Sports betting has been greatly reduced as all sporting activities have been shut down due to the outbreak. Virtually all professional tournaments and leagues have been stopped. This has caused many online sports betting sites to begin to provide alternatives.
For example, betting sites like PariMatch, has dedicated a new section to the Coronavirus outbreak, treating the situation like a sports tournament. These sites have made players begin to make bets on the spread of the virus and the likelihood of the vaccine being manufactured.
Other betting sites and bookmakers also have turned to obscure games. An example is Mybookie.ag, a gambling site which claims to make about 95% of their revenue from professional sports betting. With the lack of professional sports, they have had to turn to provide odds on unusual sports like the Ukrainian Table Tennis and began to run simulated matches in video games like Madden NFL and NBA 2K. They also offer oddsmaking on weather prediction.
Fear Of Increase In Gambling Addiction And Loss Of Money
Many people in different nations who are at home have had to deal with boredom. They spend a lot more time online and watching television. This has exposed them to a lot of things, including gambling advertisements. Many online casinos who took advantage of the cancellation of sporting events to increase their advertisements are getting much attention.
People from home, including non-gamblers, are being encouraged through these adverts to use online casino products. Due to this, many regular gamblers have increased their gambling rate, and other people have begun to gamble. Their motivations at the start could be to preoccupy themselves, win money, or socialize, but unknowingly to them, the risk of them being addicted to gambling is increasing.
Thus, many people and governments in different nations have voiced their concerns about online gambling, just like the government in Sweden. The UK Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) issued a 10-point pledge in March, with a promise to take extra steps to make sure gambling firms do not take advantage of addicts and vulnerable people. Nevertheless, others are calling for stricter measures to be taken.
Governments have been advised to instruct the online casino industry to put an end to controversial VIP schemes that will result in heavy losses and also a stop to advertising bonus offers.
Therefore, governments and regulators are now putting limits on stakes on highly dangerous slots and casino games. They have also set limits on funding of betting accounts. Some other countries have taken extra steps to regulate the industry during the lockdown. For example, Lithuania has suspended online gambling advertisements, while Latvia has totally brought online gambling in the country to a halt.
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