Research from the French regulator L’Autorité nationale des Jeux (ANJ) has discovered that 6 per cent of players felt “overwhelmed” by their gambling activities during the October 2020 coronavirus lockdown.
The Gambling and Confinement survey used a sample of 3,013 individuals who had gambled at least once during 2020 and found that 75% of them had gambled during the second lockdown and 80 per cent had done so online.
As well as the 6% that felt overwhelmed by the level of gambling they were doing in the second lockdown, 70per cent indicated that they were worried about experiencing financial difficulties in future.
Casino players and new players showed the most propensity to feel overwhelmed, however, 43 per cent said they had no intention of seeking professional help to curb their gambling and 35 per cent indicated a desire to continue gambling as much or more.
Of the new players to have responded to the survey, 22 per cent said that they had taken it up as a result of having more free time, while another 22 per cent said they were otherwise bored. A similar proportion of new players (21per cent) said they intended to give up when the lockdown was lifted.
More than half of respondents (54 per cent), said they gambled a similar amount during the lockdown as they had done before, while 11 per cent said they were gambling more during lockdown and 34 per cent said they were gambling less.
Worryingly, 57 per cent of respondents said they were gambling through lockdown in the hope that they would boost their earnings, while 43 per cent said that the lockdown had not changed or influenced their gambling. Of those surveyed 4 per cent said that progression in games was encouraging them to keep playing.
Of the total sample, 34 per cent said they had stopped gambling during the second lockdown because they didn’t want to spend money on games.
Market research agency Harris Interactive undertook the research, which is part of ANJ’s remit to gain a better understanding of French gambling habits and the causes of harm.
The French government introduced new player protection laws at the start of this year, which means operators have to be able to present a safer gambling plan to the regulator by the autumn.
The ANJ reported online gambling revenue of €1.74bn (£1.49bn/$2.06bn) for 2020.