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The Raise Of Problem Gamblers During The COVID-19 Lockdown

Research shows that there are three common types of gamblers, the professional gambler, the social gambler, and the problem gamblers. It however is true that everyone tends to see and call themselves a social or professional gambler. Professional gamblers are those who depend on skills rather than luck to make money. They have full control over time, money they spend on gambling.

As we talk more to have an overview of who a problem gambler is, Michelle Thomas is the featured author here, he will take us through what problem gambling is and the raise to it during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social gamblers consider gambling as a valid form of recreational activity. Social gamblers consider the cost of gambling as payment for the entertainment they receive.

A problem gambler is one who continues involving in gambling activities despite the negative consequences. Sometimes this addictive behavior makes one be out of control. Problem gambling could also be any gambling behavior that disrupts your life. When you gamble and spend money upon money on it despite the negatives then you have a gambling problem. When there is an impulsive control disorder in which the one suffering it cannot control his/her appetite to gamble even when it is causing problems in their lives, then it becomes a gambling addiction. All gambling addicts are problem gamblers but definitely not all problem gamblers have a gambling addiction.

During the COVID-19 related lockdown, everyone was asked to stay indoors and this led to a clear increase in screen time, as people were stuck at home and looked for ways to do away with the restlessness, the anxiety of being stuck at home. During this period there was a drastic increase in the number of online adverts on websites and social media to lure potential customers who were struggling and looking for a way to alleviate their addiction to the screens.

A study from the UK Gambling Commission found that 1.4% of all people who gamble have developed an addiction to it, but this figure increases to 2.5% when only online sports are considered. When the focus is shifted to online casino games we have a whopping 9.2%. Part of the reason for this increase in addiction in online gaming is that it is efficient in terms of speed i.e. easily accessible anywhere with any device that is connected to the internet. Gambling online is done with credit cards instead of physical cash, which can lead to debts without even knowing what’s at stake. It is 24/7 and also it can be easily hidden because others may not know exactly what you are doing with your device.

The most important question to ask ourselves is the factors that have led to an increase in problem gamblers during the COVID-19 lockdown? Here are a few points to consider:

  1. Depression, Anxiety, and boredom: When there was no movement, many people felt bored and depressed spending so many hours, day after day in their houses. Outdoor activities, workspaces, travel was banned everywhere. These feelings created a vacuum that was filled by the online forum. This led to most people spending more time with their phones. Clicking onto an online gambling platforms like Canadian casinos was a very big possibility during this time.
  2. Closure of Casinos and ban on sports: Land-based casinos were closed as everyone was conscious about the places one could easily get exposed to the virus. Major sporting events and activities all over the world were suspended and postponed. This made sport loving fans and gamblers to be left hanging on a cliff.

They had to tune into the online platform to continue their favorite games and place their bets through online gambling especially for those that have addiction problems.


Stuck at home and unable to visit physical casinos, most gamblers in Canada turned online to play their favorite games. No wonder a 32% increase is expected by the end of 2020 in the number of online gamblers in Canada. The problem here primarily lies with ex-players, high-risk problem gamblers whom the quarantine period has been a temptation for them. They found themselves playing more often than usual and losing more money coupled with the increase in the unemployment rate brought about by the pandemic.

Even when the land-based gambling houses had procedures and requirements to meet in order to stay open, the lockdown brought a new wave of change in gambling habits. Gamblers who decided to use online casinos had problems with compulsive gambling, anxiety, and substance abuse.


The surge in problem gamblers increased as a result of COVID-19 lockdown which caused depression and anxiety amongst people. However, if you are one that constantly thinks about gambling related activities, you should be careful and involved in other creative, educative, informative, and mind relaxing activities during this period.

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The Raise Of Problem Gamblers During The COVID-19 Lockdown

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