Online gambling in post-pandemic context. The shift from sports betting to gambling
The study “Online gambling in the post-pandemic context. El paso de las apuestas deportivas a los juegos de azar” (Online gambling in the post-pandemic context. The shift from sports betting to gambling), financed through the call for proposals from the National Plan on Drugs’ confiscated assets fund (FONDO) 2020, is divided into four blocks that cover all the objectives of this study programme. The results analyse the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on sports betting and gambling. The results provide an insight into the phenomenon under study that should be useful for improving prevention programmes and therapeutic dynamics. First, we present the impact of Covid-19 on gambling and betting patterns in Spain, with special attention to the gender dimension. We also analyse the synergies of Spanish trends with those of other countries. Spanish gamblers transited from the large sports markets to the minority markets, which remained open during the pandemic, and also transited to other products, especially poker. The transitions were more accentuated in the strategic and trader profile. We will offer a perspective on how the preventive and welfare scenarios of behavioural addictions were affected by the arrival of the pandemic. This allows us to learn about the breaches and the responses they offered. We analyse the new regulations in relation to gambling and betting in the Spanish context. We will include an assessment by key agents such as those responsible for associations for those affected, therapists, experts in prevention and people seeking treatment for pathological gambling. We also analyse how the gambling industry is organised as an interest group to exert influence on public administrations. We present an analysis of loot boxes in the Spanish context. We will see how this type of mechanism has proliferated in video games, how some authors point out that it can facilitate the transition to pure gambling games. We focus on the environmental prevention strategies that are effective in preventing pathological gambling. The results show the extent to which the pandemic has altered the preventive and care scenario, as well as which structural strategies are effective in the field of behavioural addictions. The methodology used to achieve the objectives is qualitative in nature. We applied three techniques: documentary analysis, participant observation (online and offline), individual interviews with active gamblers, tipsters, people affected by gambling disorders and different professional profiles.