Four in 10 frequent gamblers bet more now than before the Covid-19 pandemic

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For Safer Gambling Awareness Week, 1 – 7 November, NerdWallet research finds:

  • 38% of Brits who gamble at least once a month gamble more now than pre-pandemic
  • 63% of Brits who gamble every day are now gambling more than pre-pandemic, the highest of any category
  • 43% of British gamblers wish they could reduce the amount they gamble, but 42% of people don’t know how to do so
  • 42% think that marketing from gambling companies should be banned

New research from independent price comparison website NerdWallet, has discovered that 38% of frequent gamblers – classed here as gambling at least once a month – are gambling more than they did prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the more frequently respondents gambled, the more likely they were to have seen their gambling habits increase – 63% of those Brits who gamble every day said they are gambling more than they did pre-Covid.

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The easing of lockdown hasn’t necessarily caused gambling to revert to its pre-pandemic levels, either. Nearly 62% said their gambling had remained the same since lockdown ended, while almost 12% saw their gambling increase once restrictions were lifted.

At the same time, 43% of all survey respondents said they wanted to reduce the amount they gamble – rising to 57% for those who gamble every day. However, 42% of Brits didn’t know how they could do so.

“With a lack of distraction over the tough months of lockdown, it appears that people have found it much harder to manage their gambling. And the habits developed during the last 18 or so months have been difficult to unwind even as the UK opens up,” said Connor Campbell, a personal finance expert at NerdWallet.

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“It speaks to the ongoing importance of Safer Gambling Awareness Week that so many wish to reduce their gambling, but either don’t know how to use the tools out there to help them, or are completely unaware of them. This is especially true at a time when households will be feeling financial pressures from all directions, be it climbing energy costs, rising food prices, or the impending increase in national insurance.”

The desire for greater awareness and support around the issue is echoed by the survey’s respondents, 63% of whom felt more could be done to help promote safer gambling and its related tools, such as self-exclusion and gambling site blockers.

It may also be on gambling companies themselves to do more to combat the issue. As gambling ads become harder to avoid, especially if you are a fan of live sport, 53% of Brits felt gambling companies were too aggressive in their marketing. Almost half (47%) of those polled claimed such promotions made it harder for them to manage their gambling and keep it under control.

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This led to 42% of British gamblers saying that they believed marketing from gambling companies, including advertising, sponsorships, and celebrity endorsements, should be banned outright.

NerdWallet has information on managing gambling debt here.

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