Problem gambling is never a good thing, but the prospect of problem gamblers being locked in their houses with nothing else to do was the stuff of nightmares in the early days of the pandemic. Nowhere was this fear more pronounced than in the UK, where anti-gambling forces are keen to point out any perceived trouble caused by the gambling industry.

But, according to a recent study by GambleAware, only about four percent of UK punters actually increased their gambling during lockdown. In fact, a lot of UK residents actually cut down their gambling as they presumably spent their time in lockdown making sourdough starters and banana bread.

The nice thing about this gambling industry-funded study is that it’s done annually, so results could easily be compared to years that look like what we used to call “normal”. What the survey found was that the number of people who gambled during lockdown actually decreased ten percent from the same period in 2019. Given the massive amount of job furloughs and uncertainty that accompanied that period, this isn’t particularly surprising.

On a similar note, the survey found that about 40 percent of the households surveyed spent less on gambling than they did the year before. Again, given the economic uncertainty of the time, this is the expected outcome.

Another unsurprising result GamblingAware found was that problem gamblers remained problem gamblers throughout 2020. People who struggle with gambling addiction don’t take time off for pandemic so no one should be surprised when they find out that quarantine is not the cure for problem gambling.


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