The coronavirus pandemic has been completely calamitous for the global economy and even the exact damage is not confirmed, this virus has severe negative impacts in the world. Countries with a confirmed case have to face a crisis that has touched every sector. The gambling sphere has also been affected by the COVID-19 crisis and in New Zealand; this industry’s decline is amazing. As reported by the Health Promotion Agency (HPA) and the market research company Nielsen, during the lockdown, there was a decrease of 50 percent of people who gamble.
Although the sporting events like Rugby, Cricket, and Netball seduce a high volume of Kiwi punters, these types of betting activities are obviously absent during quarantine. This decline is, therefore, due to the absence of these sporting events since various gambling activities were postponed or cancelled until further orders.
The survey conducted by the company Nielsen and HPA is based on the answers of 1,190 people above 18 in Aotearoa. Concerning the land-based gambling there, 50% of people have gambled less during the lockdown whereas just 9% played too much than usual. Nonetheless, 41% have played at the same level as before. For all age groups, the rates of gambling participation do not change but 22% of those between 18 and 24 confirmed to gamble more than before.
As for the online gambling area, 24% gambled less during the quarantine while 33% answered that they did not change their gambling habits as using sites such as CasinoDeps to find online casinos offered a way for players to find platforms where they could make additional income. 8% of the surveyed people reported to gamble using the websites and apps for the first time and 12% said that they had played more than before during the lockdown.
Furthermore, for people between 25 and 49, 18% confirmed that they had gambled more than before which is higher compared to other age groups. Contrary to this case, the participation rate among the interviewed aged 65 and above has reduced which is also the case of the majority of the age groups. Taken from this survey, more New Zealand-based gamblers stopped or reduced gambling during the lockdown.
Main reasons for the decline
As stated above, gambling in New Zealand has declined and related to the Covid-19 crisis, the main cause of this issue is the decrease in gambler participation. Each group of gamblers who stops or reduces to gamble has its own reasons. The Racing Industry Transition Agency (RITA) is among the agencies mainly affected by this decline in terms of customer activity. Due to this collapse, RITA is now looking to fire up to 30% of its staff to minimize costs.
The first reason for this decline is the financial concerns. As a matter of fact, 50% of people who gamble online admitted that they reduce their practice because of the financial problems. Apart from that, some gamblers assumed that they did not really like gambling around their family and this group of players is about 15%. Nonetheless, the rate of people who gamble online for the first time has increased because their usual retail premises are close. This group of gamblers who had to opt for internet gambling activities is around 51%.
Actually, the lockdown obliged all gambling premises and activities to close including all horse racing and Lotto New Zealand. On the other hand, horse racing started recovering from the negative impacts during the lockdown. However, customers can still purchase tickets online.
Another cause of the NZ gambling decline is the worry to become an addicted gambler. 17% of surveyed people confessed that they were afraid to become compulsive gamblers while 9% said their concern about their family members to experience problems related to gambling. Indeed, 28% of the punters between 25 and 49 were afraid to face this problem. It is followed by the 18-24 age group with 26%, then the group of 50-64 with 6% and the group of above 65 is the lowest at only 4%.
For those who were worried about their family’s members to face gambling harms, the group of people between 25 and 49 holds the first rank with 12%. The responders’ group with the age of 18-24 is 11%, up to 65 is only 5% and the last one is the group of questioned people aged between 50-64, with just 3%. Moreover, New Zealand has moved to coronavirus alert Level 1 and some businesses are allowed to reopen. One of the gambling companies permitted to reoperate is Lotto NZ which continues to sell tickets online despite its reopening.