Aussie Gambling Fell During the Pandemic but Gamblers Are Happier
New research from the Australian National University (ANU) has found that Aussies dramatically decreased their gambling during the pandemic and even now, gambling activity is far below pre-coronavirus levels.
The university surveyed over 3,000 adults in May and November to measure their gambling activity during the pandemic and the results were compared to a survey conducted in April 2019. In the 2019 survey 66% of people said that they had gambled in the last twelve months and this dropped to 53% in the May 2020 survey. In November, the figure had slightly grown to 58.7%.
The research also found that those in the age groups 18 to 24 and 75+ had returned to their April 2019 levels by November, but those aged 25 to 54 were still gambling far less.
With heavy lockdowns imposed, it is no surprise that the number of Australians who played video poker halved from April 2019 to 9.3% in May 2020, and only rose to 9.6% in November. Similarly, casino table games dropped from 5.1% to 2.5% between April 2019 and May 2020, and then dropped further to 1.8% in November. Despite Australian law forbidding local operators from offering online casino products, the number of respondents who played online slots remained almost the same in April 2019 and May 2020, but did drop in November.
The good news is that the pandemic appears to have reduced the amount of problem gambling in Australia. In April 2019, 13.6% of Australians were considered to be ‘at risk’, but this had dropped to 10.3% by November 2020.
Even without taking into account those who did not gamble over the last year, in April 2019, 20.7% of active gamblers were considered ‘at risk’, while this dropped to 17.5% in November 2020.
The survey in April also examined people’s attitudes towards gambling. It was found that there was strong support for statements such as “there are too many opportunities for gambling”, “gambling is dangerous for family life” and “gambling should be discouraged.”
However, just 36.5% of people believed that “it would be better if gambling was banned altogether” and 56.8% believed “people should have the right to gamble whenever they want”. Furthermore, the survey also found that “those who gambled at all during the pandemic had a more positive change in life satisfaction than those who did not.”