Résilience - COVID-19 - Résilience - Coronavirus disease 2019

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online gambling in France and Sweden – CONGA

Covid-19 and ONline GAmbling

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on online gambling in France and Sweden

Main issues raised & general objectives

The COVID-19 epidemic represents a major threat to global health. This unprecedented health crisis has led many governments to set up a lockdown of their population to limit the transmission of the virus, as was the case in France, but not Sweden. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, all eyes have been focused on the significant somatic complications of COVID-19, but the impact on behaviors, particularly those that can lead to addictive disorders, remains little studied.<br />Both in France and Sweden, global changes in online gambling activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their potential for gambling problems, are a source of concerns for public health authorities. Indeed, given the restrictions related to the health crisis management, such as the closure of certain gambling venues or travel restrictions, a large increase in online gambling connections and massive transfers from unavailable gambling activities to activities that have been maintained were observed. The existing literature on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemics on online gambling were mainly survey-based studies or indirect observations at a global level, but the actual impact at an individual level remains unknown to date.<br />The CONGA project aims to measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the online gambling activity and on the use of responsible gambling (RG) tools, and to compare this impact between France and Sweden.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the online gambling activity and on the use of RG tools will be determined based on analyses of gambling tracking data. The use of gambling tracking data, widely acclaimed given their ecological nature, could allow observing longitudinally changes in online gambling practices (both the raw gambling activity and risky behaviors) and in the use of RG tools due to the pandemic, at an individual level. Three specific research axes have been identified:
(i) to measure the longitudinal trajectories of gambling behaviors across two periods of interest (2019: outside the pandemics/2020: during the pandemics) at an individual level, to identify changes in activity and subgroups of gamblers with distinct impacts of the COVID-19 on their gambling activities. Three panels (2 in France and 1 in Sweden) of 40 000 gamblers active in 2019 and 2020 will be used;
(ii) to measure the early gambling behaviors of newly registered gamblers, by identifying specific trajectories across the 6 months after registration. Three panels (2 in France and 1 in Sweden) of gamblers who created their accounts during the epidemic peak in March-May 2020, and three panels (2 in France and 1 in Sweden) of gamblers who created their accounts during a similar period outside the pandemics (March-May 2019) will be used;
(iii) to describe and compare cross-sectionally the gambling behaviors and use of RG tools of French and Swedish online gamblers outside of the pandemics, by identifying typologies of gambling behaviors in 2019, before the pandemics. The sane three panels and for axis (i) will be used.
For all these research axes, differences by country, gambling type, age group and gender will be taken into account. Indeed, it should be noted that beyond their different management of the health crisis, France and Sweden have very distinct online gambling regulations (notably, online casinos authorized in Sweden, unlike France) and very different cultures, which is of interest in itself to compare the gambling habits in each country, regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, gambling in women is on the rise and women display specific gambling behaviors. The project will include the investigation of gender specificities both in the investigation of the impacts of the pandemic and in the comparison of French and Sweden gambling behaviors.
Finally, metadata will also be used, making it possible to observe the overall variations in activity in connection with the key periods of the pandemic.

In progress.

The CONGA study will provide a better understanding of the impact of restriction measures in the context of the health crisis on online gambling activities. The combination of French and Swedish data will allow comparing two countries with very distinct politics regarding the pandemics, i.e. a lockdown in France compared to no lockdown in Sweden. Moreover, the identification of sub-populations particularly at risk of increasing their gambling activity in response to the health crisis will have both clinical and epidemiological perspectives, even beyond the current period of crisis.

In progress.

The COVID-19 epidemic represents a major threat to global health. This unprecedented health crisis has led many governments to set up a lockdown of their population to limit the transmission of the virus, as was the case in France, but not Sweden. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, all eyes have been focused on the significant somatic complications of COVID-19, but the impact on behaviors, particularly those that can lead to addictive disorders, remains little studied.
Both in France and Sweden, global changes in online gambling activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and their potential for gambling problems, are a source of concerns for public health authorities. Indeed, given the restrictions related to the health crisis management, such as the closure of certain gambling venues or travel restrictions, a large increase in online gambling connections and massive transfers from unavailable gambling activities to activities that have been maintained were observed. The existing literature on the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemics on online gambling were mainly survey-based studies or indirect observations at a global level, but the actual impact at an individual level remains unknown to date.
The CONGA project aims to measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the online gambling activity and on the use of responsible gambling (RG) tools, and to compare this impact between France and Sweden, based on gambling tracking data. The use of gambling tracking data, widely acclaimed given their ecological nature, could allow observing longitudinally changes in online gambling practices (both the raw gambling activity and risky behaviors) and in the use of RG tools due to the pandemic, at an individual level. Three specific objectives have been identified: (i) to measure the longitudinal trajectories of gambling behaviors across two periods of interest (2019: outside the pandemics/2020: during the pandemics) at an individual level, to identify changes in activity and subgroups of gamblers with distinct impacts of the COVID-19 on their gambling activities; (ii) to measure the early gambling behaviors of newly registered gamblers, by identifying specific trajectories across the 6 months after registration of gamblers who created their accounts either during the epidemic peak in March-May 2020, or a similar period outside the pandemics (March-May 2019); (iii) to describe and compare cross-sectionally the gambling behaviors and use of RG tools of French and Swedish online gamblers outside of the pandemics, by identifying typologies of gambling behaviors in 2019, before the pandemics.
For all these objectives, differences by country, gambling type, age group and gender will be taken into account. Indeed, it should be noted that beyond their different management of the health crisis, France and Sweden have very distinct online gambling regulations (notably, online casinos authorized in Sweden, unlike France) and very different cultures, which is of interest in itself to compare the gambling habits in each country, regardless of the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, gambling in women is on the rise and women display specific gambling behaviors. The project will include the investigation of gender specificities both in the investigation of the impacts of the pandemic and in the comparison of French and Sweden gambling behaviors.
The CONGA study will provide a better understanding of the impact of restriction measures in the context of the health crisis on online gambling activities. The combination of French and Swedish data will allow comparing two countries with very distinct politics regarding the pandemics, i.e. a lockdown in France compared to no lockdown in Sweden. Moreover, the identification of sub-populations particularly at risk of increasing their gambling activity in response to the health crisis will have both clinical and epidemiological perspectives, even beyond the current period of crisis.

Project coordination

Gaëlle BOUJU (Gaëlle CHALLET)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

CHU Nantes Gaëlle CHALLET

Help of the ANR 63,061 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: April 2021 - 12 Months

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