COVID-19 lockdown pushes online casino searches to 'all-time’ high
Almost all casinos across Europe, Canada and United States have been closed for more than a couple of months due to corona virus outbreak, but the notorious pandemic failed to crush gamers’ keen interest in the trying their luck as online gaming offered them a new platform.
Data collected by Google Trends revealed that search interest in online gaming casinos hit an ‘all-time’ high in the United Kingdom since the beginning of lockdown in mid-March. All nonessential businesses, including casinos, were forced to suspend their operations after the outbreak of deadly corona virus, which claimed thousands of lives across Europe with higher number of cases in Spain, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.
According to the newly-released data, casino gambling swiftly moved online after physical gambling venues closed their doors to the public and the authorities passed stay-at-home orders. A bar chart showed the UK cities with the highest relative popularity of online casinos in internet searches from 19th of February to 19th of May 2020.
Anna Hemmings, chief executive officer of UK charity GameCare, said they were concerned over increasing number of people at risk. She stressed that boredom, financial distress and isolation contributed to the problem of problem gaming during Covid-19-induced lockdown that was imposed across the country in a bid to prevent deadly corona virus from spreading further. By 24th of May, corona virus had infected 260,000 people across the country, leaving more than 36,000 of them dead.
While many industry observers warned that lockdown measures were a “recipe” for disaster for many. However, the country’s Gambling Commission said in a statement that there was a significant increase in online gambling bets but found no evidence of an increase in problem gambling. Gaming Commission CEO Neil McArthur stressed that they were monitoring online gaming operations and immediate steps would be taken in case of any type of irresponsible behavior.
Commenting on the situation, McArthur said, “The watchdog has given new guidelines to gambling companies to help their customers. We are monitoring online operators closely and if we see irresponsible behaviour we will step in immediately, suspending licences if we need to.”
As per Google Trends, there has been a significant increase in the number of gamers enjoying gambling online, and they are mostly playing online slots, poker and virtual sports. In addition, online gamblers are also spending more time and money to get rid of boredom and isolation during lockdown.