A joint study by Australian credit bureau illion and analytics firm AlphaBeta has revealed a 67% increase in online gambling in the past week alone following the recent shutdown of all non-essential services due to COVID-19.
The figures, based on a sample of transactions of 250,000 Australian consumers, show the online gambling industry as one of the biggest winners of the shutdown, alongside services such as food delivery, up 63%, and online retail and subscription services, up 61%.
It does not, however, break down the rise in online gambling by type, nor does it outline whether the data refers only to legal gambling activities. Sports betting and wagering is permitted in Australia but online casino gaming and poker are among the activities strictly prohibited under the Interactive Gambling Act.
A similar trend was this week flagged by US-facing online social poker room Global Poker, which revealed a 43% increase in the use of online poker sites in the United States since social distancing and lockdowns took effect, including a 255% increase in first-time poker players. Global Poker said that, prior to lockdown, around 40 million Americans, or 6.8% of the total adult population, enjoyed poker either live, online or with friends on a regular basis.