Young Australians Turn to Sport Betting During Covid

The Covid lockdown has been the apparent catalyst for a major increase in the sports betting activity of young men in Australia new research has shown. Online gamblers, in general, are spending big during the pandemic, the threefold rise in betting numbers is being explained through lack of socially stimulating alternative activities.

Football on the field.

With the return of sports betting markets in Australia there has been a marked increase in the revenues of online sportsbooks, with young Australians being a powerful demographic driving the growth. ©pixel2013/Pixabay

Of course, the worrying aspect of this latest revelation is concerning the major economic damage already caused to the economy by the pandemic. There have been devastating job losses across Australia. The simultaneous rise in betting activity from young men is feared to be worsening an already dire situation.

Gambling operators with their business split across land-based and online services have weighed in, and given a possible explanation for the statistics. The bookmakers are claiming that the rise in online betting activity can be matched against an equal dip in the revenue takings at land-based betting venues across Australia.

80% of New Accounts are Men Between 18-34

The statistics released with the research by the Australian Gambling Research Centre (AGRC) suggest that 80% of new betting account registrations made since Covid lockdown were from young men aged 18 to 34. This has been accompanied by a median rise in the monthly spend on gambling by this demographic, rising from $680 to $1,100.

In the research, the analysts have used a rigorous methodology to make these claims. Surveying over 2000 gamblers they have managed to come to the conclusion that the number of players placing more than four bets per week has increased to 35% up from 23%.

Part of the explanation for this increase has been attributed to the return of major sports competitions. Including but not limited to the English Premier League, the NRL, and the AFL. These leagues all relaunched their seasons under a condensed format with matches being played much more frequently. Meanwhile, horse racing events that makeup three-quarters of the Australian gambling industry went ahead largely uninterrupted.

In the notes made by the researcher to the report, they argue the main reasons for an increase in the average gambling figures during the recent period are a result of a lack of other entertainment alternatives. When asked, most respondents to the survey said that their increased gambling activity was a result of self-isolation, boredom, and increased availability of gambling promotions.

More Interesting Statistics on Gambling Increases

Of the people involved in the survey, over 76% reported being exposed to a far greater range of gambling advertisements. These were in the form of targeted promotions, welcome bonuses, free bets, and other creative offers designed to motivate more people to use gambling products.

The impact of the pandemic on these figures is the main point of the survey, and one interesting result is that a 16% increase in the number of people using online gaming products since the lockdown. Also, casino streaming is growing, with live videos from creators playing live casino games. The result is indicative of the statistical survey carried out across the entire cohort of respondents.

It doesn’t seem like the pre-Covid gambling levels at online platforms will return, and the current figures are likely to keep rising further in the opposite direction. As is often the case in times of economic uncertainty when people are losing jobs, the number of people drawn to gambling increases.

Concerns for Responsible Gambling

Whilst the report is quite conclusive in its approach towards the gambling habits of young adults in Australia, the AGRC’s report suggested that for older people there was less likely to be an incentive to gamble. Done appropriately there can be little doubt that gambling is a fun activity, and throughout isolation, it’s been providing much-needed entertainment to a wide range of people.

The Australian bookmakers operating inside the country are playing their part. They have been aggressively driving campaigns to stop problem gambling, making customers set deposit limits on their accounts and allowing the possibility to self-exclude from the platform.

Responsible Wagering Australia is another organization working to ensure a safe gambling environment for all residents of the country. As an agency with direct contacts to the nation’s biggest operators, there are many insights they can offer. According to this group, the increase in online gambling activity is just a reflection of the total increase in gambling products across the country.

Bookies Profits are Soaring

The biggest winners from all of this are the betting operators, of course. Financial statements published by the largest listed gambling companies in Australia paint a very clear picture of how lucrative the lockdown has been for the business. According to business analysts working in the region, there has been a $15bln increase in online gambling in Australia.

Going through the biggest winners we start with Tabcorp whose total wagering volume grew by 3.8% to a total $7.1bln. Flutter Entertainment, which has Sportsbet as a subsidiary, reported a 45% increase in its online net revenues. GVC Holdings, which has Ladbrokes as a subsidiary, recorded a similarly fruitful profit margin, with a 43% lift in net revenue.

If an economic analyst were to pick one winner from all of the crises endured by the global economy it would certainly be the online gaming sector. Across the board, there have been huge leaps in online gaming revenues. Unfortunately, the land-based sector has been stuck without consistent footfall for nearly 9 months with no end in sight.

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