Open thread Feb. 22, 2022

The response to the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted commercial gambling in jurisdictions around the world. Numerous land-based gambling venues such as casinos, bingo halls, horseracing tracks, bars and clubs with electronic gambling machines (EGMs), lottery retailers, betting shops and poker rooms were forced to close leading many to download mega888 games, in particular during the first phase ‘lockdown’ in March and April 2020 [1–4]. Since the initial lockdown, some venues re-opened fully or in a modified fashion, some remain open and others have closed during the second wave restrictions. Like the course of the pandemic itself, the future availability of gambling is unknown and unpredictable. This paper reviews evidence to date on the impact on individuals of these effects.

At the same time that land-based gambling accessibility decreased, online gambling sites continued to operate. Some media reports indicated that business had, in fact, flourished and that the pandemic served to promote this increasingly popular gambling format [5,6]. Online gambling sites typically include the full range of types of gambling, including lottery ticket sales, casino table games such a roulette, blackjack and craps, slot machines, online poker and sports betting. With the exception of sports betting, which was affected by the cessation or reduction of professional sports worldwide, all other types have been continuously available from both legally regulated and unregulated site operators. Some jurisdictions, however, have taken steps such as limiting advertising [7] and imposing a daily betting cap to minimize potential harms during the pandemic