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How Covid-19 Has Affected the World of Gambling in New Zealand

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected every aspect of people’s lives in many countries, including New Zealand. The world of gambling has also been influenced. Therefore, we took the time to this issue and are ready to share the study results with you.

The article was prepared by Nicole Goodwin, the editor of the portal OnlineCasinosNZ.


Not so long ago, Covid-19 shocked the world with its appearance. In addition to the dangerous and fatal damage to physical health, the pandemic has also affected the mental health of people. This can include anxiety and depression. But, along with them is excessively active behavior on the Internet, for example, an increase in the number of video games, gambling, or a banal habit of spending free time online.

In New Zealand, as in many other countries where casinos are actively spreading, there is a risk of irreversible consequences of the pandemic for gambling. Everyone knows about the existence of gaming disorder, but not everyone understands the extent of this problem. During the two years of the pandemic in New Zealand, people developed gambling addiction more often than before the global epidemic. It is important to note that gambling disorder is always accompanied by financial and psychological consequences, and, most often, other psychiatric diseases. However, this addiction can be cured. This is often done through active behavioral therapy.

Previously, New Zealand also faced crises. But what Covid-19 caused is incomparable to anything that happened before. The pandemic combined the financial crisis, quarantine restrictions, and changes in trade, work, education, and travel. In this regard, 5 million New Zealanders spent much more time at home, while surfing the Internet. Sure thing, such behavior was worrisome, because it had a direct impact on gaming behavior.

These fears are mainly since the gambling industry itself in New Zealand, as in other countries, has changed significantly because the sports that bets were distributed on had practically ceased to exist during the global quarantine.

At the same time, the pandemic has led to the fact that some types of gambling have become more popular. But, it is sports betting, the most popular type of gambling, that actively causes addiction. During quarantine because of Covid-19, the sport went far from our lives, and all events were canceled. But people who can’t imagine their lives without bets remained. They started trying other types of gambling, such as online casinos, being much more likely to become addicted.

At the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic, it became obvious to everyone that people would switch to online gambling. In some countries, companies even limited advertising and introduced some restrictions on the casino industry. Speaking of New Zealand, the casino industry is quite popular there and people with addiction can be found quite often, so the perceived risk there is rather big.

As for the gambling industry itself, land-based casinos, of course, were closed for obvious reasons. But the online industry was available. Some media reported that the gambling market was flourishing. There were many online casinos in New Zealand and they provided a full range of gambling games: blackjack, roulette, slots, poker, live dealer games, and sports betting. The decline in popularity affected only the area of ​​betting because sporting events were banned. The only thing that influenced casino games was the reduction in advertising and some other restrictions.

It is quite hard to provide accurate information because it is difficult to compare the usual periods of life and the time of the pandemic. Many addicted gamers prefer to remain anonymous. But some facts are revealed. Firstly, during the pause of sports in the world, most people have moved into the realm of online casinos. Secondly, the closure of offline casinos has led to more players online. Thirdly, almost everyone who became interested in other types of gambling has been already addicted to some extent.

Research Methods

Study Scheme

This is a study of online gambling in New Zealand. To get up-to-date data, we took into account the statistics for 2020. In addition to this, we also examined the data that was collected even before the global epidemic. This is the way we look at the world of gambling during the long Covid-19 crisis and compare the situation with what it was before.

The study was conducted in New Zealand because this is a country where the gambling industry is controlled by several regulatory bodies – the Department of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health, and the Gambling Commission. In New Zealand, the installation of video poker terminals is allowed. They are installed everywhere – near shops, in pubs and other public places, as well as in officially permitted casinos. In addition to this, advertisements for bets and casino games are common in New Zealand. Accordingly, the problem of addiction to games does not bypass this country.


We found reliable statistics for 2020 that was created based on a survey. The survey was attended by those residents of New Zealand who had previously participated in mass social surveys and wanted to do so themselves. Polls were also held on social networks, where every gambler could take part. Many also advised their friends or relatives to answer the questions. This is how the data was collected.

In a survey in 2020, people talked about their experiences with the gambling industry. Some stopped playing, but most still didn’t stop or even started playing more. Some had never even tried to play in a casino or place bets.

All surveys were conducted with an indication of the type of gambling. Sports betting, online casinos, land-based casinos, online poker, online roulette, and so on were considered.

To better present the statistics, data were also collected on who these people are, what age they are, what hobbies they have, where they work, etc.


Comparing the data for 2020 with the data for 2018, it was difficult to make one general verdict. Some succumbed to the temptation and decided to try playing online. And some have abandoned it altogether. The results varied from person to person. It all depended on who they lived with and in what conditions. In addition, the difference was noticeable depending on the region.

Decreased Rates of Gambling

If we talk about the decline in gambling, then everything is clear in the remote. When all land-based casinos closed, statistics showed that people played less often and spent less money on it. The New Zealand study we reviewed also cited some other reasons:

  • Financial problems. Many lost their jobs during the pandemic and were unable to invest in gambling.
  • Staying at home all the time. Most of the players gave up gambling because they did not want to play next to their children and relatives, who pointed to an excessive increase in bets or casino games.
  • The decline of the gambling industry. Some casinos, even online ones, could not exist normally due to less funding and insufficient attention to them.

Increased Rates of Online Gambling

The reduced interest in gambling in New Zealand did not last too long. Precise estimates are difficult to give, but many participants in the study reported an increased interest in this industry.

The study paid attention to groups of people of different statuses, and ages, with and without bad habits. Depending on this, the results varied. The study examined in detail the groups of people who showed the greatest interest in online gambling. Young people and the elderly were most at risk. In addition, some men were more likely to be negatively affected by gambling. But women were not spared either. In addition, non-smokers and those who self-identify as Maori were most likely to report playing or betting more frequently.

In the survey, participants also shared what motivated them to play online more. Health promotion agencies in New Zealand summarized the information and gave several reasons:

  • boredom;
  • the desire to relax and escape from the routine;
  • stress, anxiety, and depression amid global quarantine;
  • desire to earn money and the prospect of big winnings.


The study we reviewed was one of the first of its kind in New Zealand. The purpose of the analysis was to collect up-to-date data on gambling during the coronavirus pandemic. Many people who were players of online or offline casinos took part in the survey for the study. The study focused on analyzing the behavior of different groups of people and understanding how significant changes can occur in the online gambling market.

As a result, we can conclude that online gambling, of course, was more popular than land-based casinos. In addition, those who openly reported gambling and betting during the pandemic already had a certain degree of addiction or debt. Accordingly, they took every opportunity to play. The original idea was that gamblers were unlikely to switch to new types of games. In addition, online bettors were in the group that was less at risk, especially if they had tried betting recently.

This 2020 New Zealand survey can also be compared to the 2018 gambling survey.

In terms of gender distribution, both the new and the old studies were dominated by men. And in 2020, the participants were a little older. There were also more people playing online casinos and online bingo, but, they were less likely to look at offline casinos. Live sports betting has also dropped significantly in 2020.

These data make it clear that, as expected, some types of gambling have become more popular, while others have hardly aroused interest among people. No wonder people have stopped going to land-based casinos. After all, the global lockdown included the closure of any crowded establishments. But, slot machines on the streets were still a favorite for many players. All this taken together clearly proves the theory that most gamblers have left offline casinos in the past and switched to online versions, which are quite numerous in New Zealand.

Now let’s talk about problems with gambling. The study clearly showed that those who continued to bet even in the most difficult times of crisis are much more at risk of addiction. But, fortunately, such people turned out to be a minority. Many who did not have the opportunity to bet on their usual sports did not try anything new in the world of betting. With slot machines and casinos, the situation turned out to be the same. After all, those who continued to furiously look for new ways to play slot machines had serious problems with gambling. Only one conclusion can be drawn here. In times like the Covid-19 pandemic (or other similar crises), people with addiction must be subject to preventive measures and strict restrictions.

According to the study, online sports betting has not disappeared even during the weeks and months of the most severe restrictions, like lockdowns around the world. After all, it is clear that some sports matches were still held. There were local football and basketball matches, which, due to the lack of global events, gained immense popularity on betting sites. People actively searched for those sports leagues or events that were legal for betting at that time. Based on this, we can confidently say that with limited betting opportunities, people have managed to find affordable options. Such ardent fans of betting show us the massive process of gambling addiction.

We also thought about whether other games will become more popular during the pandemic. And this is not an unfounded fear, because some types of gambling tend to cause more active addiction, which can be dangerous for many players.

When comparing the two studies, very few people decided to quit gambling because of the pandemic restrictions and the impossibility to play offline. But most of the people in the survey either stayed at the same level of game frequency or started playing more. The only problem with the study is its inaccuracy. After all, it is impossible to say with 100% certainty that these changes are caused precisely by the pandemic and changes in life because of it.

It is also important to remember that financial problems or being at home all the time was also the reason why the model of interest in gambling changed. But, there are also those people whose lifestyle has remained almost unchanged, and the interest in gambling has increased anyway. Therefore, this issue requires a deeper study.

After analyzing the surveys, we concluded that changes in the gambling market can have consequences that are directly related to the Covid-19 crisis. Many athletes for example faced the inability to continue their activities in the world of sports. Some of them decided to try their hand at betting. Such people are much more at risk. The pandemic is not over yet, and people who are actively betting even in the most meager situations remain. It is important to understand that these people need to be treated with special attention. But, for the completeness of the study, it will be important to compare the current data with those that will be collected after the pandemic. This is very important for accurately determining the impact of the crisis.

It is important to mention the indirect consequences of the pandemic. So, for example, a large percentage of addicted gamers can lead to the fact that psychiatric help will become more frequent and people will begin to relate to this more consciously. This is the biggest crisis New Zealand, like the rest of the world, has seen in decades. But, in the future, even smaller problems can lead to the same consequences.

The study that we analyzed provides interesting information, but there are some limitations. The study was conducted based on standard surveys, which may reduce the accuracy of the data. The study included groups of people who already have established online gambling behavior. This is done to easily compare the data.

In addition, all data were based on self-reports of people who took part in the survey. This is quite different from the objective indicators of gambling, especially given the fact that there are many different gambling operators in New Zealand.

Based on the new data, it is difficult to understand whether a person’s recent addiction to gambling is caused by changes in the gambling industry, the onset of a pandemic, and changes in living conditions in its most acute phases.

After all, completely different people took part in the two studies, and their character and behavior as a whole would be difficult to compare and compare to give an accurate account of the increase or decrease in interest in gambling. However, in the future, a study is planned in New Zealand that will help determine even more accurate readings.

Despite some inaccuracies, this study has already helped analyze changes and understand how often people gambled during the Covid 19 crisis.


The results of the study showed that the impact of Covid-19 on the world of gambling can be completely different. Thus, it increases some problems and exacerbates others. The long-term implications of the changes in the gambling market due to Covid-19 are not exactly clear yet. But, in future studies, more specifics will be introduced and vulnerable groups will be studied more stubbornly.

The surveys for the study were conducted when offline gambling was simply prohibited due to quarantine restrictions. In future studies, the information will be more diverse.

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