March 3, 2021 3 min read


Gambling Habits Influenced by Lockdown Study Shows

According to a new study, 1 in 3 people started betting more often, and around 1 in 6 people who bet on sports began to enjoy a new form of gambling during the initial lockdown last year.

A Study Reveals the Gambling Behavior during the Lockdown

Stirling and Glasgow Universities’ experts studied regular bettors’ behavior, for the period between March and June 2020, during the first lockdown in the UK. At the time, professional sports events were suspended, and gambling sites were closed.

According to the study, one-third of bettors completely stopped betting, but a minority of people found other means to play. They are considered gamblers at risk, the study says. Another report by the Gambling Commission recently revealed a 42% decrease in gambling activities in the retail sector in 2020 but an increase in online gambling by 3%.

The study, published in the journal Addictive Behaviors, will help get a better understanding of the situation, as the Department of Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport is reviewing the Gambling Act of 2005. DCMS Director Ben Dean said at the Westminster Policy Forum event last week that they need to have as big a picture of the industry as possible. The UK may not implement changes to the Gambling Act of 2005 until 2022.

The Hot Topic: Lockdown, Mental Health, and Gamblers at Risk

The team will hold a webinar on March 10, from 14.00-15.00, with free registration. The researchers will provide more information and an overview of the study and address questions regarding the Gambling Act Review.

Chief Executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, Christina Marriott, said that protecting people at risk must be the focal point of the UK’s new gambling laws. According to her, the survey shows that regulation and player protection should change the “gambling landscape” under the Gambling Act review. 

What Are the Numbers?

The researchers used the online platform YouGov to survey regular sports bettors (3084 men and 782 women) to see their behavior before the lockdown, between December 2019 to February 2020 and from March 23 to mid-June 2020. The study showed that during the initial lockdown, 17.3% of men and 16.5% of women began to enjoy new means to play.

According to the study, 29.8% of men and 33.4% of women stopped playing during the lockdown. The research also revealed that 31.3% of men and 30.3% of women started playing more often on at least one new activity. Also, 1 in 6 sports bettors found other ways to gamble.

The study revealed that 5.4% of men started playing the lottery, and 3.5% started online betting. 6.5% of the female bettors began playing the lottery, and 3.4% started playing online bingo. According to the study, people who shifted to a new activity during that period are potentially at risk from gambling-related problems.

Before the lockdown, sports betting was the main activity for the surveyed sports bettors group (78.8% men, 61.4% women). The study shows a significant increase in online betting during the lockdown.

Professor Kate Hunt from the University of Stirling’s Institute for Social Marketing and Health said that these results are a part of an extensive study, which would reveal the effects of the industry’s marketing campaigns on gamblers and the players’ behavior and experience during the lockdown.

The results will paint a clearer picture of the situation in the gaming industry. It will help in the process of the review of the Gambling Act 2005 by the UK Government.


Eva is a PR specialist and communications expert with ten years of experience in campaign organizing and creative writing. She is also a published author of fictional stories. Eva recently developed an interest in economics and the gaming industry after discovering the inspirational story of Molly Bloom.

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