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Gamblers double down on pandemic punt

  • October 14 2020
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Invest

Gamblers double down on pandemic punt

By Cameron Micallef
October 14 2020

Despite governments limiting access to venues, as well as sports around the world going into lockdown, Australians are gambling significantly more money, official figures show.

Gamblers double down on pandemic punt

Gamblers double down on pandemic punt

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  • October 14 2020
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Despite governments limiting access to venues, as well as sports around the world going into lockdown, Australians are gambling significantly more money, official figures show.

Gamblers double down on pandemic punt

A survey result of 2,000 gamblers by the Australian Institute of Family Studies found there was a statistically significant increase in the frequency of gambling during COVID-19.

The proportion of participants who gambled at least once a week increased from 79 per cent to 83 per cent, and the proportion who gambled more than four times per week increased from 23 per cent to 32 per cent.

Young men (aged 18-34 years) were the group most likely to sign up for new online accounts and have increased their monthly spending on gambling from $687 to $1,075, which is increasing the risk of gambling-related harm.

“I found that due to being so bored in isolation that my friends and I would put stupid bets on horses/dogs/overseas sport with little to no knowledge of the sport just to get a thrill out of it. This hit all of us quite hard financially,” an 18-year-old male told the study. 

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Horse racing, sports betting, greyhound racing and lotto were the main products that participants gambled on before and during COVID-19.

“A gambler like me will always adjust. Can’t go to [casino] to play poker, then just find an illegal site to play online. Can’t bet on the sports I usually do, just bet on other sports that are still on,” a 46-year-old male said. 

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has also helped some gamblers break their addiction with forced lockdowns, meaning they were unable to gamble.

“People have stopped gambling, but they are very eagerly awaiting the pokies venues to reopen … in my opinion there will be a big influx [of people] with a lot of money put into pokies … I wish [the venues] would stay shut,” a key expert said.

Despite the break helping many Australian gamblers, the reopening of licensed venues has seen a sharp increase in spending at venues previously closed.

The key experts noted that because of social distancing and limits on patron numbers in venues, it was likely to be people who were more at risk of gambling-related harm who were gambling, and with larger amounts of money.

“That gambling spend [once venues reopened] ... actually represents about a 50 per cent increase, because there were about 50 per cent less machines in venues because of social distancing … so we’ve seen a smaller number of people gambling more money,” the key expert said.

Gamblers double down on pandemic punt
Gamblers double down on pandemic punt
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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