Concentrating man on his laptop at night
Concentrating man on his laptop at night

COVID-19 isolation sparks gambling concerns

THE new isolation measures bought on by the coronavirus pandemic are being linked to an increase in online gambling.

There was a 67 per cent increase in online gambling from a survey of 250,000 Australian consumers, according to a recent study by Australian credit bureau Illion in collaboration with analytics firm Alphabeta.

Professor Matthew Rockloff, Head of Experimental Gambling Research Laboratory at CQU, said the increased spare time could be a trigger for gamblers or introduce new people to the habit.

“People may try online gambling as a way to gamble because they can’t gamble in-venue anymore … they might try overseas sites, which puts them at increased risk because most of the time these sites don’t have consumer protection measures,”

“It also could happen that people will be bored and in search of something to do they might be introduced to gambling,” Professor Rockloff said.

Despite many of the common betting markets such as sporting games being closed for now, other novelty markets have appeared in their place, which Professor Rockloff said is not a new thing.

“Because other forms of gambling are not available to people, they may try these novel forms instead and those are relatively regulated in Australia but they may not be overseas,” Professor Rockloff said.

With many individuals suffering job loss as a result of the pandemic, Professor Rockloff said it was important to see gambling as not a viable source an income and to adhere to strict budgets.

“If you do decide to engage in online gambling, realise that it is not a way to make money, it is a way for the companies who provide the product to make money,”

“Because it’s a low skill, even the though it might seem like a high-skill activity, the house advantage always advantages the provider rather than the person placing the bet, you should see it as an entertainment product,” Professor Rockloff said.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit www.gamblinghelponline.org.au or contact 1800 858 858.


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