According to a recent YouGov poll commissioned by GambleAware, the UK’s general gambling rate reduced during the country’s first Covid-19 lockout.
Problem gambling rates and median consumer expenditure also fell. YouGov polled the same people twice, first last year and again seven months later.
It questioned 12,161 people between September 24 and October 13, 2019, and 9,067 more in May. Overall gambling involvement dropped from 49% in October to 39% in May 2020. Only 4% of individuals who gambled indicated they had bet more during lockdown, compared to 41% who said they had gambled less and 52% who had not.
The study indicated that players who were classed as problem gamblers or at risk of becoming problem gamblers had gambled more than other players.
Among medium-risk players, 12% bet more and 46% less.
Among higher-risk players, more reduced than increased, however the difference was smaller, with 20% more and 27% less. In May, 41% of respondents said they spent less, 51% said they spent the same, and 3% said they spent more.
Those with indicators of gambling issues were more likely to have increased gambling expenditure, although again, those who lowered gambling spending outnumbered those who increased it. The percentage of high-risk gamblers declined from 3% to 2%, while the proportion of low- or medium-risk gamblers fell from 10% to 9%.
In May 2020, 17% of those categorized as problem gamblers quit gambling completely or exhibited no hazards, 23% reduced their risk to low or medium, and 60% were problem gamblers. The National Lottery remained the most popular form of gambling, however its proportion declined from 36% to 27%.
Internet football betting declined from 6% to 3%, and online racing betting fell from 3% to 1%. Only internet casinos increased from 1.5% to 2.3%. Its results match YouGov polls for the Gambling Commission.
YouGov said it was “reasonable to conclude” that some of the changes were directly related to the Covid-19 epidemic and consequent shutdown.