iGaming News

Is the Covid-19 Lockdown Causing a Growth in Problem Gambling?

Sections of the main stream media have once again decided to attack the gambling industry, this time highlighting that the current lockdown the UK is experiencing due to the ongoing Covid-19 / Coronavirus pandemic, is fuelling a growth in problem gambling. This is despite the fact that the vast majority of sporting events have been cancelled during the lockdown, which subsequently has hit the high street bookmakers and online sportsbooks as a result.

The Guardian newspaper on Friday published an article titled “Frequent gamblers betting more despite coronavirus sports lockdown, study says”, whereby journalist Rob Davies highlights a poll ran by Survation, which states that of those polled that gamble regularly, 28% are gambling more frequently.

To be fair though, it is referenced that the majority of respondents indicated that they had reduced their gambling activity since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak. Yet the title of The Guardian’s article, does not in anyway infer this is the case.

What Davies in his article fails to mention, is that thanks to the regulations brought in place by the Gambling Commission, UK players have every tool imaginable to monitor and control their gambling behaviour. But I guess by doing so, this would not favour the agenda of his publication and his own.

Of course, this is notwithstanding the fact that operators of online sportsbooks are not going to cross market their products, especially during a period where sports events, barring esports and a few events held across the globe, have all but ceased to function.

However, to use this global pandemic to once again beat an industry you do not agree with or like, could be seen as an agenda driven underhanded ploy. What would be good for players and those of us that like to be able to bet or play at an online casino, is for the main stream media to use their influence for the good of the industry and the consumers that enjoy gambling as a past time. By lobbying for the Gambling Commission to ban and forcing licensed operators to remove the reverse withdrawal ‘facility’ would be a good first step in the right direction.

Secondly, highlighting those offshore sites that either directly themselves or indirectly through their affiliates, that target those individuals with a gambling problem, would also be a good and productive use of their platform.

So far, as far as we are aware, only the Independent newspaper has covered the scourge of sites targeting players who have signed up to GamStop and the casino sites actively targeting Non GamStop Casinos search terms  on google.

More needs to be done on this front by the Gambling Commission to tackle this worrying practice, a practice which is not going away anytime soon, as we wrote about last week here in our article Non GamStop Sites a Very Real Problem.

Poll: Are You Spending Less or More on Gambling during the Covid-19 Lockdown?

Our sister site Casinomeister has started a poll of the membership of the forum, one of the busiest forums dedicated to online casinos on the internet. With the poll getting the opinion of the forum membership in relation to their gambling activity since the Covid-19 lockdown began. You can check this poll out here, which is open to any registered member of the forum.

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Simon Wright

Simon has been working within the iGaming Industry for some 20 years now. Whereby he has built up a wealth of knowledge in this area during this time. As well as being a main contributor for Casino Gazette, Simon also writes and reports for Casinomeister.com.

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