In previous survey data from October 2020 we provided contextual indicators of how the Covid-19 outbreak had affected consumers in terms of their wellbeing and explored the reasons why people had increased or decreased their gambling activity during the Covid-19 period. In this latest release of consumer data, again taken from the Yonder online omnibus, we have aggregated data from fieldwork conducted in October, November and December 2020 to generate a large, nationally representative sample of over 3,000 adults.1.
This latest research echoes previous releases in finding:
- Overall, there has not been a significant or sustained increase in gambling activity since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Among all those who have ever gambled, 6 in 10 say the amount they gamble has been unaffected by Covid-19, 27% report a decrease and only 13% an increase.
- The most engaged gamblers (engaged in 3+ activities) are the most likely to have started new activities since the Covid-19 outbreak began, and to have increased their overall gambling spend
- As would be expected, online activities have the highest proportion of new players since the pandemic began.
- Most gamblers anticipate their gambling spend remaining the same, or decreasing over the next 3 months, and few (3% in this data) anticipate an increase.
The research also suggests young women (aged under 35) are more likely than average to have started gambling since March 2020, where they hadn’t gambled before. Some 4% of young women who had ever gambled started doing so during the Covid-19 period, compared to 2% of all gamblers. Among young women who had ever gambled on each product, online bingo (21%) and instant win games (18%) had the highest proportion of players who had taken the activities up for the first time during the Covid-19 period.
Feeling low or unhappy is a particular influence on young women who have increased their gambling in the Covid-19 period, mentioned by 27% of this group.
On the other hand, young men (aged under 35) are more likely to have increased their gambling since March 2020 as a result of offers received from gambling companies (mentioned by 22%), or because of the desire to socialise (14%).
Since the pandemic arrived, there have been significant increases in the amount of spare time, stress and boredom that many people have experienced. The data suggests a link can be drawn between these factors and increased gambling – among those increasing their gambling since March 2020 the main influences are spare time and boredom, and almost half (45%) of those who have started a new gambling activity in this period cited boredom as an influence.
Increased financial, health or relationship difficulties in the Covid-19 period are particularly associated with gamblers who started playing new products: 10% of those who started one or more new gambling activities since Covid-19 arrived said they had only experienced any of these difficulties since the pandemic started, compared to 5% of all gamblers. People who have experienced any of these kinds of difficulties are also more likely than average to anticipate their gambling increasing over the next three months: almost a fifth (19%) of those who experienced financial, health or relationship difficulties in the Covid-19 period expect their gambling activity to increase over the next three months, compared to only 3% of all gamblers.
When considering the results of this research against the environmental factors brought by the new lockdown our view is that, although the majority of people are not gambling more, risk has increased for some consumers, including those who were already at risk.