Recent studies reveal that people have increased how much money they spend on online gambling during the pandemic. Society has been flooded with COVID-19 life for about a year now. We have lived through lockdowns and isolation from family and friends. It should come as no surprise that people are desperately trying to find ways to avoid boredom. Some have found an escape through online wagering sites.
Many gamblers find it very appealing to be able to play directly on their phone wherever they are. This convenience-factor has subsequently skyrocketed the amount of time that individuals spend on online betting. Some people are out of work, and some work at home with much more time than they used to have, so they occupy more time doing internet activities. Let’s take a look at how the pandemic increased gambling spending.
- MagnifyMoney surveyed 1,550 Americans about online spending habits during the pandemic.
- 70% of American consumers have indulged in some type of financial vice during lockdowns.
- The average American who invested in gambling spent $950 per person on average.
A Closer Look at the Research Study
MagnifyMoney is a subsidiary of LendingTree. It provides readers with free information, tools, and resources to help manage their money better and take control of their finances.
For those looking for diligent research and concise reporting on finance, MagnifyMoney is a great resource.
It recently published a report on the effects COVID-19 has had on addiction spending and what Americans were using their money on during lockdown.
Addiction Spending During the Pandemic
They surveyed a total of 1,550 Americans to find out what they had to say, and the results regarding online gambling spending, while not surprising, raised some concerns.
One of the most concerning aspects of the study was that according to the survey 4 in 10 Americans used money from their savings account to cover these vices in 2020.
This sets a dangerous precedent as we move onwards into 2021 and await more data regarding how extended lockdown has further compounded these issues.
The Survey’s Key Findings
MagnifyMoney’s report was extensive and covered various vices other than online gambling. Below are the key findings in the study that stood out to us:
- Americans spent an average of $946 on addictions in 2020 – Out of the 1,550 surveyed, 45% said they felt guilty regarding their spending. However, those who were furloughed during the pandemic said they felt even worse. Spending to cope during stressful times has been factual knowledge for many researchers for some time now.
- Of those who spend on habits, 46% admitted using their money on a vice rather than putting it into savings. The survey also showed that 38% even took money out of their savings to indulge in their addiction.
- A whopping total of 70% of consumers spent money on some financial vice during the pandemic. This includes cigarettes, excessive alcohol, lottery tickets, online gambling, and adult entertainment.
A Rise in Online Gambling Spending
Although the report mentioned using money on multiple vices like cigarettes, alcohol consumption, and lottery tickets, online gambling is a huge part of addiction spending during the lockdown.
The most worrying thing is that the average individual spent roughly $950 on their addiction out of those surveyed.
It is hugely problematic for those who are in a worsened financial state and can lead to severe problems if continued unchecked. Matt Schultz, LendingTree’s Chief Credit Analyst, said the following regarding using savings to fund an addiction:
It is a very serious thing, and you should look into getting help. That untreated addiction can wreak havoc on your finances, health, and relationships unless you do something about it. I worked for it.
Addiction Spending in Online Gambling
It’s essential to keep in mind that MagnifyMoney’s survey, although comprehensive and thorough, represents a small demographic of the American population (a total of 1,550 surveyed out of a population of 328+ million). Also, online wagering is a newer phenomenon that many have only just discovered during the pandemic.
It’s crucial to understand that, although online gambling is perfectly safe when enjoyed responsibly, there is an extremely high-risk factor involved, and people can get addicted very easily.
Responsible Gambling During the Pandemic
It looks like we’ll all have to pull through and stay healthy through further lockdowns for the time being. The increase in online wagering can be problematic, especially for those who were furloughed or those dipping into savings to gamble. There isn’t anything wrong with enjoying betting responsibly, but as Matt Schultz said, the difference between a hobby and an addiction is the degree to which you spend.
If you are struggling with online gambling, or have seen an uncomfortable rise in your financial habits during the pandemic, please visit our dedicated page on responsible gambling. You will find important information on how to help yourself or your loved ones.