How Have Gambling Outfits Survived The Lockdown?
Nobody could have predicted or believed that the current coronavirus pandemic affecting the world would be around for so long. Arising in China in 2019 and then spreading across the globe into 2020, it has resulted in the loss of life, closure of businesses and a complete turnaround on our way of life.
Amongst the sectors that have been affected by the pandemic, the gambling sector in the UK has been hit in its own way. Once the United Kingdom entered into a national lockdown in March of 2020, casinos, bookies, bingo halls and more were forced to close their doors to stop people from coming into contact with one another. These land-based establishments were integral to some people, especially in terms of the bookmaker stores. These not only provide a location for placing sports bets, but for people to socialise with one another, too.
So, how exactly have such gambling outfits managed to survive during the UK’s various lockdowns, tier systems and restrictions?
Well, while online casino gaming, sports betting and bingo gameplay was available before COVID-19, it garnered quite a high level of popularity with gamblers once lockdown was enforced. Various land-based casinos and sports betting stores were directing their customers to the online sector, where they could continue with their gambling activities from home.
Of course, the stoppage of so many sporting events around the world led to bookmakers having a bit more of a challenge on their hands. It basically became the decision of some to send sports bettors to casino sections of their sites or to provide some sort of appeal to lesser-known sporting events. Belarusian and Ukrainian football leagues that continued gameplay throughout the pandemic became a central focus for multiple online sportsbooks and their registered members.
Mobile Gambling Enhances the Gaming Experience Even More
As with online gambling options, mobile casino gambling has been an available activity for several years now. However, once again, during the pandemic, people were taking to their devices to access online casinos and sportsbooks for some sort of entertainment. While working from home or off on furlough, bettors had spare time to dedicate to spinning a few more slots, playing a few rounds of poker or placing a few more sports bets (on the events that they could find still in operation).
More and more gambling sites started promoting their mobile opportunities during lockdown, with some pushing their free-to-download apps as being a better way of engaging in the activity. This way, if people went out for their once-daily allowed exercise, they could take a brief break in between and place a few bets. Mobile betting affords the user to enjoy gaming from any location, so it is suitable for everyone with a smartphone to partake in.
Combining the efforts of the online and mobile betting spheres, gambling outfits in the UK have been able to survive through the lockdown months. Of course, usually these would be operating alongside the physical land-based establishments as well. Despite this, it is a kind of blessing that these companies had their online sphere to turn to, as without it, they would have been left in dire straits.
And where players are concerned, they would not have been able to access their favourite betting opportunities without the online and mobile sectors being in operation.
Addiction Fears Unfounded in the End
There were certain fears raised only moments into the first lockdown, that gamblers would be a lot more susceptible to experiencing addiction problems. After all, with more time on their hands while not working or operating from home, the routes are there to sink into problem gambling, it would seem.
However, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission did introduce certain enhanced rules for all operators to follow during these times. Rules like checking on players at certain times, doing background checks to ensure that they can afford to place bets and so on, were heavily pushed by the Commission.
Figures were then released by the Commission regarding online gambling activity during the pandemic. That information suggested that overall, fewer customers were actually gambling in this time period. According to research from May 20-21, 2020, only 0.4% of all adults surveyed stated that they had started gambling for the first time during the last four weeks. That compares with 2.1% of adults who had stopped gambling altogether during the same period.
Neither of those figures in specific were dramatically different from the rates recorded earlier on in the lockdown period. Lockdown had, on the other hand, prompted some people who were gambling already, to try new products.
So, while a minimal few people who had taken to land-based casinos and betting sites before the pandemic hit had chosen to bet online, not a huge number of them had. However, the activity of those players who gambled online beforehand may have simply heightened to ensure that these online betting sites survived through lockdown.