The impact of COVID-19 on gambling and gambling disorder: emerging data

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Hodgins, David C.
Stevens, Rhys M. G.
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Wolters Klower
Purpose of review: The lockdown response to the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted commercial gambling in many jurisdictions around the world. The goal of this review is to systematically identify and describe the survey data and findings to date examining the effect on individual gambling and gambling disorder. Recent findings: Of the 17 publications meeting inclusion criteria, the majority reported cross-sectional assessments (n = 11, 65%) and remainder were longitudinal in that they had earlier gambling data for participants (n = 6, 35%). Not surprisingly given the closure of land-based gambling, an overall reduction in gambling frequency and expenditure was reported in all studies. The estimate of the proportion of participants in both the general population and the population that gambles who increased overall gambling or online gambling was variable. The most consistent correlates of increased gambling during the lockdown were increased problem gambling severity, younger age groups, and being male. Summary: These results suggest that the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on gambling and problematic gambling are diverse – possibly causing a reduction in current or future problems in some, but also promoting increased problematic gambling in others. The longer-term implications of both the reduction in overall gambling, and the increase in some vulnerable groups are unclear, and requires assessment in subsequent follow-up studies. However, in the short term, individuals with existing gambling problems should be recognized as a vulnerable group.
Open access article. Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International LIcense (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) applies
Gambling disorder , Lockdown , Covid 19 pandemic
Hodgins, D. C., & Stevens, R. M. G. (2021). The impact of COVID-19 on gambling and gambling disorder: Emerging data. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 34(4), 332- 343.