British gamblers are getting more oriented from sports betting to much riskier online gambling services, such as online casino and slot machines amid the ongoing restrictions aimed at limiting the further spread of coronavirus infection. This trend has been confirmed yesterday by one of the largest online gambling operators, 888 Holdings, which explained that it had been affected by the current lockdown of the industry and the cancellation and postponement of most major sports events.
As Casino Guardian has already explained, 888 Holdings has shared that the measures requiring social distancing, which ended up with the postponement or cancellation of major sports events, such as the Grand National and the Premier League, had affected its expectations for the 2020 performance. The online gambling giant, however, said there was some evidence that gamblers were turning their eyes to alternative digital products.
The gambling company said there was increased customer activity in its online casino and poker operations, with such a trend being able to offset the negative effect that the disruption of sports betting services causes for a short period of time. However, the increasing interest towards digital gambling services has raised some concern about the possible effects such a customer behaviour could have on British gamblers.
Higher Problem Gambling Rates Registered among Online Gamblers in the UK
Anti-gambling campaigners have been worried about the possible negative effect that could occur for British gamblers who get more oriented to online gambling due to fewer sports events to bet on.
The beginning of the week saw a cross-party group of Members of Parliament urge the online gambling businesses to adopt a maximum daily betting limit of £50, citing concern that vulnerable people and individuals who find it hard to control their compulsive gambling habits could be seriously affected during the period of social distancing measures that have been recommended to tackle the further spread of the coronavirus infection.
According to the most recent gambling report published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), approximately 1.2% of British customers who take part in such activities are facing a problem controlling their gambling. The figure, which currently remains relatively low, includes individuals who play the National Lottery games where gambling addiction rates are also usually low.
When it comes to online sports betting, the major gambling regulatory body in the country has said that the problem gambling rates among customers are slightly higher, 2.5%. The rate of gambling disorders, however, is considerably higher when it comes to online casino, slots and bingo services, with about 9.2% of British residents who spend their money on such services are classified as problem gamblers.
This information, combined with the rising interest towards the online gambling sector in the UK, has fuelled some concern about the players. For the time being, the request of the cross-party MP group for online gambling companies to impose a maximum betting limit per day has remained unanswered.