According to one of the United Kingdom’s biggest gambling websites, with the lockdown in several countries including the UK in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, there has been a shift of gamblers from wagers on sport to far riskier online casino and slot games.
The postponement or cancellation of sporting events such as the Premier League and Grand National is the reason for this shift, said 888 Holdings in an update to the stock market. The company said that this resulted in reduction of income from sports betting which accounts for about 16 per cent of the revenues of the company, it noted.
The company however also noted that it had noticed that gamblers were also migrating to alternative products.
“There is currently evidence of increased customer activity in the group’s casino and poker products that might, in part, compensate for the sports betting disruption for a period of time,” it said.
Earlier this week, online gambling companies were called on by a cross-party group of MPs in the UK to impose a £50 daily cap on bets because they believed that vulnerable people and addicts could be particularly vulnerable to such betting and gambling especially when there is a lockdown.
According to the most recent analysis published by the Gambling Commission, there is a problem with about 1.2 per cent of people who take part in gambling. The relatively low figure includes people who play the national lottery, where problem gambling rates are low.
The rate of disordered gambling is slightly greater for online sports betting with a bookmaker at 2.5 per cent. There is however a much higher rate of potential addicts, at about 9.2 per cent of the people who expend money and are classed as having a problem, for online slots, casino and bingo.
The gambling companies of the UK have till now not paid any heed to the call of the MPs to impose a daily betting cap.
However, 888 said it was working particularly hard to ensure that it spots signs of problem gambling among its customers.
“The board recognises that, with people spending more time at home and with potentially increased stress from economic uncertainty, 888’s vigilance on safe gambling and preventing gambling-related harm is even more important than ever,” it told investors.
“The group continues to offer its customers support and is proactively communicating with its customers to make them aware of safe gambling tools to limit and control their play.”
After evidence came out that suggested that customers bet on table tennis, Japanese baseball and the Belarusian Premier League, it was being “extra sensitive” in its marketing, William Hill has previously told the media.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)