The impact of the initial Covid-19 lockdown upon regular sports bettors in Britain: findings from a cross-sectional online study

Wardle, H. et al. (2021) The impact of the initial Covid-19 lockdown upon regular sports bettors in Britain: findings from a cross-sectional online study. Addictive Behaviors, 118, 106876. (doi: 10.1016/j.addbeh.2021.106876) (PMID:33647707)

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Background: In Britain, unprecedented restrictions on daily life associated with the Covid-19 pandemic included the suspension of professional sports events during the initial ‘lockdown’. This provides opportunities to observe changes in sports bettors’ behaviour when their primary form of activity is removed and assess the impact of Covid-19 related circumstances upon gambling. Methods: In July 2020, we conducted an online cross-sectional survey of people who bet regularly (at least monthly) on sports before Covid-19 (n=3866). Bi-variate analyses compared changes in gambling behaviours before and during the initial lockdown. Multi-variate logistic regression models explored associations between problem gambling (men) and moderate risk or problem gambling (MRPG) (women) with changes in Covid-19 related circumstances and changing gambling behaviours during Britain’s initial ‘lockdown’ (March-June 2020). Results: 29.8% of male sports bettors and 33.4% of female sports bettors stopped gambling altogether during the initial Covid-19 lockdown, though 17.3% of men and 16.5% of women started a new form of gambling during lockdown. Among men, adjusted odds ratios of problem gambling were higher among those starting a new gambling activity during lockdown (OR=2.50 [95% CI 1.38-4.53]). Among women, adjusted odds ratios of MRPG were higher among those whose frequency of gambling on any activity increased during lockdown (OR=4.21 [1.99-8.92] and among those shielding for health reasons. Poorer wellbeing was associated with problem gambling for men and MRPH for women. Conclusions: Those changing gambling behaviours during the initial Covid-19 lockdown (e.g. increasing gambling frequency or starting a new gambling activity) are potentially vulnerable to gambling harms.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gray, Professor Cindy and Hunt, Professor Kathryn and Wardle, Professor Heather and Bunn, Dr Christopher and Dobbie, Ms Fiona and Reith, Professor Gerda and Donnachie, Dr Craig
Creator Roles:
Wardle, H.Conceptualization, Data curation, Formal analysis, Funding acquisition, Investigation, Methodology, Project administration, Supervision, Validation, Writing – review and editing
Donnachie, C.Conceptualization, Data curation, Investigation, Validation
Bunn, C.Conceptualization
Dobbie, F.Conceptualization
Gray, C.Conceptualization
Reith, G.Conceptualization
Hunt, K.Conceptualization, Funding acquisition, Methodology, Project administration, Supervision
Authors: Wardle, H., Donnachie, C., Hunt, N., Brown, A., Bunn, C., Dobbie, F., Gray, C., Mitchell, D., Purves, R., Reith, G., Stead, M., and Hunt, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > Social Scientists working in Health and Wellbeing
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Addictive Behaviors
ISSN (Online):1873-6327
Published Online:23 February 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in Addictive Behaviors 118: 106876
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
311190UKRI Covid-19Heather WardleEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)WT1604387S&PS - Institute of Health & Wellbeing (Social Sciences)