Online problem gamblers – Impact of COVID-19

Behavioural changes

We have seen an increase in online gambling during the COVID-19 pandemic and there is concern that has resulted in increased risk of gambling related problems. A recent analysis, from a project assessing online gambling in Sweden, aimed to study past-30-day gambling patterns in online gamblers in Sweden in order to gain objective data about gambling behaviour during the pandemic.

Concerns have been raised about COVID-19-related consequences on gambling behaviour. Problem gambling and the gambling disorder represent conditions which are globally widespread; past-year problem gambling has been reported to occur in between 0.1 and 5.8% of the general population across different countries and continents (Calado and Griffiths, 2016).

During the pandemic we have noticed many changes in our lifestyle and behaviour. These changes include an increase in the time spent at home, possibly more time spent online, a risk of increased worry about the future, and may potentially affect gambling behaviour (Håkansson et al., 2020).

However, so far, population data is very limited with respect to actual gambling habits during the COVID-19 crisis. A previous general population study (including both gamblers and non-gamblers) in Sweden found a modest percentage reporting an increased gambling behaviour during the crisis. As a response to decreased sports events, a minority reported either turning to other remaining sports events, online casino, or horse betting. In total, those reporting an increase in their gambling behaviour were more likely to be problem gamblers (Håkansson, 2020).

From a population survey in Ontario, Canada, it was reported that during the first weeks of lockdown of physical facilities such as land-based casinos, a substantial migration appeared to have occurred from land-based-only gambling to online gambling (Price, 2020).

How to identify this behaviour

Recognising signs of problem gambling are often subtle. Indicators can be sporadic, spread across multiple chats and agents, and in the fast-paced worlds of customer support and retention, common cues can easily be missed.

This results in vulnerable players going unnoticed, leading to severe consequences for both the customer and the operator.

Especially now, it is important to identify such behaviour online to prevent problem gamblers from gambling online. This also increases compliance with Safer Gambling legislation and reduces fines and reputational damage.

The technology

The Rdentify technology can identify signs of self-exclusion and problem gambling in customer chats and email correspondence in real time. Utilising advanced technologies behind the scenes, we have made sure our product is easy to adopt and use as part of your day-to-day customer support routine.

New risk identification factors are continuously enhanced. This allows you to be confident that the features within Rdentify are always up-to-date, and hassle-free for your business to use.

If you are keen to find out more and would like to chat to our experts, please do get in touch.

You can also book your FREE demo today.

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