How Pandemic Molded Australia Gambling Industry – Was It For Pleasure Or Agony?


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Australia holds a world record of having nearly 20% of Automatic Gambling Machines, which includes 200,000 poker machines. According to world standards, the country has a relatively small population, but the statistic on online casinos Australia  is amazing. The numbers suggest that the pandemic is the reason for fueling the gambling habits, but sadly this is not.

Before 2020, the best online casinos were growing significantly in the sports betting niche, which increased in 2020. Existing and new wagers increased their activities on online gambling platforms. Despite land-venues being closed the gambling expenditure grew via online casinos Australia. The triggers were economic insecurity and financial disruption in 2020. 

Before the COVID-19 situation, the Australian gambling industry experienced fast-paced growth in online casinos, especially in the young male segment mostly participating in sports betting. According to Australian Gambling Research Center reports –

  • The per month increase in online casino spend was among males aged 18 to 34. 
  • There were 23% of bettors that placed wagers more than four times in a week, which increased to 34%. 
  • Even after Grand Prix and AFL cancellation and suspension, the sports sector rebooted its seasons introducing more midweek games with condensed schedules. 
  • The racing niche commands 75% of local betting, which operated even when other sports were stopped.

Is it a pleasure to see the increase in betting events during a pandemic than pre-COVID?

There is a small increase noticed in this kind of gambling during a pandemic. The reasons are complicated and some common ones are –

  • During COVID-19, due to lockdown, social isolation, and restrictions young men had a lot of spare time.
  • Expenses associated with reduced leisure activities were transferred to the gambling platforms.
  • Gambling triggered anxiety and stress due to financial disruptions and general mental health toll of living in the COVID-19 world.
  • Wagering and betting are similar to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, which increased in 2020. 
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Gambling stimulates the production of dopamine. Dopamine is responsible to enhance people’s moods. In the COVID-19 situation, many people found pleasure in betting. Nevertheless, gambling is addictive, which indicates that pleasure can result in significant agony down the road. 

Online gambling is associated with high addiction levels and this habit is rapidly established. According to a report, major bookmakers reveal that the bettor’s losses increased 50% in comparison to 2019. It is a matter of concern because the bettors are at high risk of betting-related damages in 2021 than they were before 2020. 

To add to the gambler’s pleasure Poker venues reopened in 2020. It was observed as another kind of binge gambling. The venue closure has suppressed Australians’ love for pokies but is suddenly reawakened. 

How did COVID-19 mold the Australian Gambling Industry?

It is proved that COVID-19 was a sowing ground for increased gambling activities as opposed to an increase in gambling habits. The exclusive 2020 environment has extended the growth of online and offline casinos. The environment was created from restricted expenditure opportunities but the question that arises here is that when normal life returns –

  • Will the person’s capability to gamble high be sustainable or not? 
  • It even reveals that the transition from safe to destructive gambling activities may have accelerated.

It has become crucial to promote responsible gambling!


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Elyse Walker