Many who thought that online gambling would increase during the COVID-19 pandemic are not quite right. Not only did online sports gamblers spend less money during this period, there was also a decline in online casino spending, which turned the story of this period around.
A new study from an unspecified major European online gambling operator with customers in Finland, Germany, Norway and Sweden concluded that the frequency of betting on online casino games, especially for online sports bettors, has decreased significantly before the COVID-19 related lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
The nameless operator’s customer data, which related to online sports betting and casino operations between January 1 and April 30, was analysed by Michael Auer of the German data science company Neccton, Doris Malischnig of the Vienna Office of Addiction and Drug Policy, and Mark D. Griffiths of the International Gaming Research Unit at the University of Nottingham.
The survey included 5,396 gamblers, of which about 70% also played online casino games. Subsequently, the data on these hybrid gamblers was split into two sets: From the beginning of this year to March 7 (roughly corresponding to the beginning of the social isolation measures) and the subsequent period to April 20.
Among the gamblers who placed a bet in at least five calendar weeks during the initial period, 76% also played online casino games during this period. This number dropped to 60% after March 7. Of those who wagered in at least six calendar weeks, 77% also played online casino games before March 7, but only 62% played the games after March 7.
The effect was less pronounced, yet prevalent among the more frequent gamblers, with those who wagered in at least 10 calendar weeks reporting 79% online casino participation before March 7 and 76% afterward.
In the survey, gamblers were divided into 10 different groups based on the size of their online casino bets, and there was a statistically significant reduction among all 10 groups after March 7.