Australian Gambling vs COVID-19: Effect of the Pandemic

COVID-19 has done major damage to almost every industry in the world. It has led to different transformations of products and services across the globe, and betting is not an exception. Starting from March 2020, Australian online bookmakers had a tough time adapting to the new conditions. Physical venues were a major part of business for many bookies, and with the pandemic, they were closed, transferring all the business online. Moreover, lots of events for betting were postponed or rescheduled, reducing the possibilities for bookies even more. Australia is one of the biggest gambling countries in the world, so it is no wonder the losses of Australian bookies were major as well.

With the closure of venues, more Aussies started gambling and betting online. There has been a significant amount of new players at online sportsbooks, and the existing ones started to play even more than they did before 2020. Even that the venues are already re-opened, the industry standards have changed a lot during the pandemic, and it is important to analyze these changes.

It might sound like a paradox, but with the economic crisis going on, the gambling expenditures were only rising in 2020. Before the pandemic started, the industry was already growing at incredible rates. Betting was especially popular among men aged from 18 to 34. Although many major events were cancelled, the bookmakers continued to work, and the inflow of new bettors continued to grow. It is impossible to explain the changes of such a massive industry with simple reasons, but we can still highlight the main triggers of such growth:

  1. For most people, lockdowns and remote working freed up a lot of time.
  2. The lockdowns have also decreased the average spending on entertainment.
  3. Many people used the supportive payments from the government for betting and gambling.
  4. Some players used betting to fight stress, anxiety and boredom caused by spending too much time at home.

It is natural for people to find dopamine sources in such stressful times, and betting is a popular way to get it. In the short term, making successful bets may be pleasing. Moreover, many bettors like watching the events they place the bets on, so it was their way to distract from all the problems. However, such behaviour may turn out to be destructive in the long run.

We don’t think someone will argue with the addictiveness of gambling or betting. Making small bets for fun frequently results in developing a habit and not being able to stop. According to the bookies’ reports, the players’ losses in 2020 were 50% higher than in 2019. It implies that more players were making unsuccessful risky bets with high amounts of funds. 

The venues were opened again at the end of 2020, which has also increased the general gambling expenses in the country. Even though many players started gambling online, the love for playing at a venue did not vanish completely. For some players, the lockdowns were a good opportunity to take a break, but the others were counting days until the venue re-opening. 

The one objective fact no one will argue with is that the pandemic has caused a major impact on the gambling and betting industries. In the beginning, many experts were expecting the gambling expenses to go down with all the pandemic-related problems appearing. However, now we see that the stress and absence of other activities have caused a major increase in these expenses. Many bettors have developed a habit of making risky bets, which is a problem that should be dealt with. Supporting responsible gaming and helping the addicted players are crucial in such circumstances.

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