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On Betting in the Midst of a Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic has led to increased spending on gambling sports by online gamblers. A new study came out with the findings one-third of betting players opened new betting accounts during June and July 2020. The key findings to note are as follows:

  • Young men have significantly raised the amount of money they gamble on online gambling platforms.
  • This rise in spending is somewhat counterintuitive considering the job losses characterized by that period of the pandemic.
  • According to bookmakers, this rise in online gambling spending was accompanied by plunging revenues of traditional physical betting shops and venues.

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Online Bookmakers Make Big Profits

Some of the leading Australian online betting firms made their financial reports public some time back. And they prove that the pandemic has meant big moolah for all of these firms. Australian sports betting companies and their American, British, European, and counterparts in Thailand, like SBO, report similar results. First, let's consider Tabcorp. The company's online wagering turnover witnessed an increase of 3.8% in the financial year of 2019-2020. The turnover figures stood at a handsome $7.1 billion. However, its retail wagering business tumbled significantly by 27.9% to stand at $5.4 billion. Now let's consider the parent company of Sportsbet, namely Flutter Entertainment. According to the firm, its Australian operations' operating profits nearly touched $200 million within the first half of 2020 itself. The net revenues for its online services were up by a whopping 45% during the same period.

The Major Findings Of A Recent Study

79% of the new account holders were men between eighteen to thirty-four. The group also almost doubled their median monthly spending from $687 to $1,075. These figures are what an Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) research study has revealed. The institution included more than two thousand gamblers in its survey. It also found that players placing bets more than four times weekly increased from twenty-three percent to thirty-four percent. The survey's period included the condensed schedules of NRL, AFL, and the Premier League of England. Racing is sports that continued its operations even when other sports were forced to call it quits temporarily. In Australia, the racing industry constitutes a whopping seventy-five percent of the local betting market.

The Reasons Behind The Findings

According to experts, the pandemic results like isolation and boredom, not to mention the more significant number of betting promotions, are the critical factors that should explain young men spending significantly more on gambling. According to the findings, men of the said age reported exposure to incredible amounts of ads and promotions, which might have motivated gambling besides other factors. 78% percent of the people in the group studied in the research are presently online gamblers. The figures stood at 62% before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Experts expect the figures to come down to pre-pandemic days anytime soon. COVID-19 has created plenty of uncertainties for many people. Many people have lost jobs. The motivating reasons that lead to gambling behavior are unlikely to go down anytime soon.

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Other Research Findings

The research further concluded that the median gambling amounts were lower for people aged 34 and up.
A vast majority (more than 50%) of the gamblers surveyed reported deteriorated physical and mental health with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Another interesting thing that emerged from the study was the small increase in gambling on novelty gambling sports like reality TV and weather. Traditionally recognized sports are still very much the mainstay of the betting market. During the pandemic, the favorite hot sport on which online better spent their money was racing. However, punters were forced to stay off the tracks.

The Industry Gets Responsible

Strict laws govern the betting companies that operate from Australian turf, and as a result, these companies try their best to ensure that users gamble responsibly. To achieve the same, they set deposit limits and even self-exclusion systems. The Australian betting industry also has extended support to a proposed national exclusion register. This will let people with a gambling problem ban themselves from all wagering services licensed by the Australian authorities. The apex Australian bookmaker body Responsible Wagering Australia has, in the past, dismissed notions that an increase in online betting points towards a significant increase in the activity of gambling itself. Experts believe that many gambling and betting outlets operating on an over-the-counter basis remained closed due to the Pandemic restrictions. The closure of such outlets was why many people migrated to available online platforms like other similar industries like retail.

Final Thoughts

Like all businesses, betting too is moving online at a brisk pace. The COVID-19 Pandemic helped boost this increasing adoption of online betting. This article should serve to give you an account of the online betting narrative during the pandemic with a specific focus on Australia. If you had wanted to give online betting a shot, now is the best time!