The implementation of COVID-19 related lockdowns worldwide corresponded with a dramatic increase in many people’s screen time. While swiping the long hours away can help alleviate some of the restlessness and anxiety that comes from being stuck at home, it also increases exposure to heavily marketed goods and services, including online gambling. Some countries have noted that bookmakers increased advertising on websites and social media to lure in potential customers, which can be problematic for those struggling with a gambling addiction, or those simply suffering from boredom and looking for a way to kill time.
In the UK alone, it is estimated around 350,000 are affected by gambling addiction, with as many as 160,000 affected in Australia. Though a few countries such as Belgium, Spain and Latvia have imposed some restrictions on online gambling in order to try and curb addiction during the lockdowns, the majority of these services remain easily accessible and highly tempting. This poses a serious risk for an uptick in gambling addictions during the pandemic.
How the Pandemic Has Fueled Online Gambling
Both the physical and mental impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak have contributed to an increased use of online gambling services. These impacts include:
Boredom, Depression and Anxiety
Cut off from our regular outdoor activities, classes, and even workspaces, many people began feeling bored, anxious, and even depressed. These feelings, plus the shift of most interactions to an online forum, created a perfect storm for susceptibility to clicking onto an online gambling site.
Ban on Live Sports, Closure of Casinos
. For the first time, major sports seasons and events, including the upcoming Olympics, have been suspended, leaving avid sports fans and casual gamblers at a loss. Dramatic increases in visitors to online gambling sites suggest that people are filling the gap through online gambling.
Is Online Gambling More Addictive?
A recent study by the Gambling Commission found that 1.2% of all people who gamble have developed an addiction, but this figure increases to 2.5% when only online sports betting is considered, and a staggering 9.2% when the focus shifts to online gaming like casino games and roulette.
Part of this is due to the speed of online gambling – gamblers don’t have to wait for specific matches or tournaments, but can place bets in quick succession, chasing wins (or losses) one after the other. Because it is possible to gamble using credit cards instead of cash in hand, debts can be run up extremely quickly before people even really wrap their heads around how much is at stake. The fact that this type of gambling is available 24/7 via a simple click on our phones or computers, also factors into the heightened addiction rates.
Hence, online gambling can be more devastating both financially and mentally. It can make a person more easily addicted to gambling than the usual gambling stuffs. In order to ensure that you and your loved ones must not become an addict to online gambling or recover from the position they already are in, it is important to consult an expert from the field. Serene Retreat is one of the leading Addiction and Mental Health Treatment provider based in Malaysia with its branches locally and abroad which is working for the betterment of the people and working on their treatment processes with all the SOPs in practice and continue to bring healthy positive changes in their lifestyles. For more information about our treatment programs you can reach us via Call/Whatsapp +60 14-687 2268 or visit our website www.sereneretreat.com.my.