|The Influence of Lockdown on the Gambling Pattern of Swiss Casinos Players.|
Lischer S, Steffen A, Schwarz J, Mathys J.
International journal of environmental research and public health. 2021; 18(4):
The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has had a major impact on most societies worldwide, including the closure of non-essential businesses in spring 2020. The present study considers its impact upon gambling behavior. Particularly, changes in self-reported gambling by Swiss, land-based casino players are examined. The main characteristics of respondents who played or did not play during lockdown are also investigated. This study is embedded in an ongoing longitudinal study that examines the gambling behavior of casino players at three points in time. All respondents who had participated in the first wave of the longitudinal study by the cut-off date (15th March 2020) were asked about their gambling behavior during lockdown in a supplementary online survey three weeks after the end of lockdown. A total of 55% of the 110 respondents reported having played during lockdown. Gambling intensity significantly decreased (p < 0.001) in our sample. Considering only those respondents (n = 66) who reported having gambled during lockdown, gambling intensity also decreased (p < 0.001), but online gambling significantly increased (p < 0.002). Those players who have increased their gambling activity require particular attention. It is important that casinos respond with appropriate player protection measures to those who have increased their gambling activity during the pandemic.