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Research into bettors’ behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic that swept the whole world in 2020 has, in one way or another, affected all betting offices. It seems that we have survived the first wave, but it is completely uncertain what will happen next. Uncertainty is the main catalyst for global crises. But right now, the price of competent analysis and objective assessment of probabilities is increasing. And this is exactly what we are doing here at Bethub.

To get more data on the situation among the players, we spoke with our users and asked them a few questions in order to understand how much and to what extent the pandemic has affected their financial situations and preferences in the game.

The first question was not related to bets – it related to the impact of the pandemic on the financial situation of our users: “How has your income changed during the pandemic?”

  • Income has not changed – 26%
  • Increased slightly – 8%
  • Has grown significantly – 4%
  • Fell slightly – 20%
  • Dropped significantly – 26%
  • I lost my job – 16%

We’re relieved that the pandemic had little or no effect on the income of the majority (58%) of Bethub users. One in twenty even managed to turn the situation in their favor.

The remaining 42% were unsteadied by the crisis. And 16% lost their jobs altogether. This is 60% higher than the statistics for the country which were cited by the HSE Research Institute at the beginning of the month.

The next question we asked was, “How has your sports betting spending changed during the pandemic?”

  • I bet the same – 23%
  • I started spending more – 27%
  • I spent less – 29%
  • I stopped spending money on bets – 21%

One in five players decided to give up betting during the pandemic. The same number of players continued to play the same amount as before. The decrease in the amount players spent on betting correlates with the decrease in income, reported in the previous question. But the 27% of players who began to bet more clearly does not correspond exactly to the 4% whose income increased during the pandemic.

This is similar to the standard scenario for gamblers, when after an unsuccessful bet and the loss of half of the pot, they lose their nerves and decide to go all-in. The driving factor is that they are frightened by the very prospect of wasting time returning their bank to its original value. As a result, they place bets with unjustified risk, poor analysis and guarantee the loss of the rest. The same thing has happened now. Only, half of the bank has been taken away by the pandemic, and the decision to turn to gambling and bet all-in was seen as a way to solve financial problems.

To understand how the game itself has changed, we asked users “How have your gambling preferences changed during the pandemic?”

  • Bet on leagues from traditional sports that were not canceled due to the pandemic – 56%
  • Began to bet on eSports – 30%
  • Began playing more in the casino – 11%
  • Began playing poker more – 3%

As it turns out, more than half of the players did not change their gambling preferences. A third followed eSports, which is not surprising, since it completely occupied the betting lines at the beginning of the pandemic, and in general it is gaining more and more popularity every year both among viewers and among bookmaker players and analysts. I think it will take 10-15 years before most of the major tournaments in the world will somehow be connected with eSports events.

It is a sad outcome that every tenth player turned his attention to the casino. This is definitely a desperate option that will lead to losses, and proneness to developing psychological addiction in the shortest period of time.

One of the most important questions that interested us was, “Did you use credit for gambling during the pandemic, even though you had never used it before?” It’s the use of borrowed funds that is one of the main markers of gambling addiction and one of the biggest negative impacts of gambling on the player.

  • Yes – 28%
  • No – 72%

The indicator seemed to us too high, and we thought that the survey participants might have inattentively read the question and answered only the first part of it. As we were interested in the impact of the pandemic, we decided to reformulate the question and divide it into two simpler ones:

  1. Did you use loan funds for betting before the pandemic?
  • Yes – 20%
  • No – 80%
  1. Did you use loan funds for betting during the pandemic?
  • Yes – 23%
  • No – 77%

It turns out we were right. The number of players who started using loan funds during the pandemic, although they had not done so before, increased by 15%.

The key findings from our study:

During the pandemic, approximately every fifth player among our users, in the climate of a worsening financial situation, carried out certain actions that are not to his advantage.

Among these were the following:

  • unjustified increase in the amount of money used for betting
  • high risk game
  • neglect of quality preliminary analysis of rates
  • casino game
  • use of borrowed funds
  • attempts to solve financial problems through gambling.

It’s common for problems to get out of control; then they begin to affect people close to you and become their problems as well. This is especially dangerous during crises and can lead to a dire situation.

If you have noticed that something has changed in your game or attitude towards it, stop and think carefully about whether these changes are justified and whether they have a negative impact on yourself and others.

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