The Coronavirus pandemic has changed a lot in the world around us, from people’s state of minds, spending habits and everyday routines, we have seen this change translate through to gambling. While much of the world entered into lockdown, we saw a fear in being exposed to public spaces, closing of casinos and the postponement and cancellation of highly anticipated events and tournaments worldwide. 

We have seen sports betting screech to a grinding halt, casinos gradually opening at limited capacity and live interactive games such as poker rooms falling under restricted mass gatherings. How did this impact, now at home players? 

Players free time changes – Many professional poker players, recreational gamblers and the postponement of events globally, instilled a real concern that something serious was and still is amongst us when gambling halls were closed. Employees were sent home, schools closed, shops closed and more – we suddenly had an indefinite amount of time at home in front of us. This resulted in a record spike of online poker players since March 2020. Betting and gambling has managed to maintain a sense of normalcy and access to gambling to some extent, via virtual games, cellphones and ease of access from your own home. Shopping, socialising and work has moved online – so why shouldn’t gambling?

The financial side of it – The economy has seen itself enter an uncharted period ahead of us. With many concerns arising on income and spending behaviour and security. Saving on other lifestyle costs, more gambling spend has been noted by some players and less by others whose incomes have been affected by Covid-19. Looking at gambling as a professional game or one’s hobby, others have turned to gambling as a source to make money in these tough economic times. 

Behaviour – Left with the inability to enjoy the rush of  live gambling and casino attendance, players have migrated to online gambling, games and tournaments to fulfill that satisfaction. Meeting and possibly expanding their community by the way the world is connected online. There have been calls to ban gambling advertising and marketing, suggesting that due to people being scared, uncertain or bored, they are more vulnerable to excessive gambling. 

While casinos dominated the gross income of gambling in 2019, it will be an interesting look back on the changes that have happened in 2020. Join us on our social media pages @SAPokerOnline and let us know what you think and have experienced with gambling and poker during this pandemic.