First Comparative Lockdown Behaviour Study of Bettors Actually Shows Decline After March 7

Published June 22, 2020 by Lee R

First Comparative Lockdown Behaviour Study of Bettors Actually Shows Decline After March 7

A new report seems to fly in the face of conventional wisdom's fears that lockdowns would increase problem behavior.

Indications from a comprehensive study of 5,396 bettors from a “large European online gambling operator” based in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Germany were that increases in sports betting activity came primarily from those who were already casino players and showed overall decreases in spending.

The Study Structure

The study sample for authors Michael Auer of German data company Neccton; Vienna Office of Addiction and Drug Policy Doris Malischnig and University of Nottingham International Gaming Research Unit member Mark D. Griffiths included all sports bettors who placed a bet in at least five of the ten calendar weeks between 1 January and 7 March, 2020. The results were compared to player activity after the lockdown until 30 April.

Results Before Lockdowns

Of those who bet on sports in exactly five of the ten weeks before the lockdown, 76% played casino games. For those betting in six, seven or eight weeks, 77% played casino. For those betting in nine weeks, 78% played casino; and for those betting in each of the first ten weeks of the year, 79% played casino games.

Post Lockdown Behavior

The numbers dipped significantly after March 7th across all study groups.

Only 60% of the 1,184 players who bet in five weeks played casino after the coronavirus cutoff date (16% drop); the 874 people betting in six weeks were at 62%; while the 803 customers betting in seven weeks dropped off to 63%.

Of the 743 customers placing sports bets in eight of the first ten weeks of 2020, 68% played casino; while those placing bets in the first nine weeks dropped 7% after the cutoff date to 71%.

Less Wagers, Less Gambling

Ultimately, the study showed that “not only did players wager less on sports (most events had been canceled by March 7), but they also wagered less on online casino games.”


In effect, the lack of live sports betting events did not actually drive sports bettors to online casino play, nor increase their betting activity. Rather, the drop in the amount of money spent on betting after the lockdowns indicates bettors maintained their equilibrium in the lockdown, without displaying the compulsivity that would require more support services for problem betting behavior.

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