The unprecedented effects of the COVID-19 pandemic hit a multitude of industries on a financial level, and not least the betting and gaming sectors.
Jack McKinnell delved into the trends of lockdown and the knock-on effect that the pandemic had on the behaviours of both men and women bettors.
“The betting industry has been growing for years,” he explained, citing Statista figures. “In 2014, after paying out winnings, the industry was up by over £8 billion. Four years later, it nearly doubled that – making over £14 billion a year. Considering only a third of the population placed bets or put on the lottery, that is a lot of money.”
As live sport was paused to prevent the spread of the virus, sports betting undoubtedly dipped, but people looked for other ways to gamble, statistics from ONS demonstrated.
“But how has the lockdown affected this industry?” he continued. “Bets placed were at its lowest in the past 10 years, with nearly 30 million less bets placed in April 2020 than the year before.
“This was the month after live sport was put on hold and in August the industry saw an increase in betting again as live sport returned again, with Premier League football and horse racing taking place behind closed doors in June.
“During the first lockdown, from late March to mid-June in 2020, around one in six people started a new form of betting – around 17% across both men and women. One in three also started to bet more frequently, with men doing this slightly more than women.”
Breaking down the figures, prior to lockdown, men and women favoured different types of betting, from sports betting to lottery or even bingo. However, the pandemic altered peoples’ individual preferences, according to the University of Stirling.
“Playing the lottery and placing bets on online races had some interest, but online sports betting was the most popular amongst men. For women there was a close split between online sports, online races and playing the lottery, with the latter just edging the others.
“However, during the lockdown, these habits changed. Nearly 30% of men stopped betting entirely. As live sport had come to a close almost internationally, online sports betting took a hit, although 5% of men did start playing the lottery during this time and around 4% of men started betting on virtual sports and races.
“It’s a similar story for women’s habits on betting in lockdown. More of them stopped betting altogether, although there was a larger percentage who started playing the lottery and betting on virtual sports for the first time. Women also turned to playing bingo during the lockdown, with around 3% of them taking it up.”