British students borrow money to gamble, bookmakers bet on Brazilian football
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A survey of 2,000 students commissioned by self-exclusion scheme Gamstop and the Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust (YGAM) found that 80% of them had gambled.
Of these, 35% had used money from their student loans, overdraft, borrowed from their friends or taken out a payday loan. According to the research, which was conducted by London-based consultancy firm Censuswide, the mean gambling spend for students was £31.52 per week, though 18% admitted to spending more than £50 per week.
According to the report 38% gamble at least once per week, with 63% gamble at least once per month. The most common reason provided was to make money, with 46% of students giving this as their primary motivation. 52% said that gambling makes them feel excited, and 33% said it makes them happy. Students who had gambled were also more likely to invest in cryptocurrency. 36% of those who said they do gamble had made an investment in cryptocurrency over the past 12 months, while only 17% of those who said they do not had acquired cryptocurrency.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
At first glance, it may seem that the figure of 80% of students who gambled at least once is daunting. However, everything falls into place if we take into account the COVID19 pandemic.
Let's remember what we were doing at the beginning of the pandemic, in addition to the most popular activity, which is to panic, we transferred our work communication to Zoom, went to Netflix instead of movies, we started ordering food at home instead of going to restaurants, some of us even felt nostalgic about working in the office.
Now let's imagine the situation that students found themselves in during the pandemic, especially at the beginning of the whole story, when the fate of their study curriculum was completely unknown. Young people tend to underestimate risk and make highly emotional decisions. Add to that all the free time they've had since the start of the pandemic, mixed with the convenience of betting on mobile, and you've got a highly engaged audience that doesn't understand the risk well and is driven by the intense emotions that the game evokes.
The conclusion that we can make from the study is that more opportunities should be created to convey information about the negative impact of excessive gambling and tirelessly inform the population that it is absolutely normal to seek help, that this can and should be done. One can speculate as much as one wants on the topic of how effective are the mechanisms of self-exclusion from gambling, however, at least one case of a student asking for help, either on their own initiative or at the request of relatives and friends, is enough to understand that the work that Gamstop and Young Gamers and Gamblers Education Trust are doing is extremely important and helps not only the students experiencing problem gambling, but the entire industry, that works to support responsible gambling and takes care of the players, regardless of their age and financial capabilities.
The local regulator won’t oppose a new deposit limit being put into place. The measure was first imposed in July 2020 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic to battle problem gaming. The limit was set at SEK 5,000 (€490) and it was considered highly controversial. Spelinspektionen (The Swedish Gambling Authority) opposed it claiming it wasn’t justified at all.
The limit finally expired in November 2021. However, with the number of coronavirus cases increasing again the local government decided to re-impose the limit. This time it is supposed to be set at a lower level of SEK 4 000 (€388). The regulator doesn’t oppose it although they highly doubt it has an effect.
If the limit is imposed it will be valid at least up to the end of June. Gambling companies criticise the new measures as they believe it will be a bad thing for both the gamblers and the industry.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
The introduction of a deposit limit in online casinos is the state’s initiative launched as a precautionary measure against the possible increase in the negative impact of gambling on the population of the country during a pandemic.
It’s worth pointing out that the Swedish regulator initially did not support the introduction of a limit, and representatives of the online casino association even stated that players can easily bypass the limit by playing with several operators at the same time or by choosing operators that are not subject to Swedish regulation.
And now, after the expiration of the previous limit, Swedish online casinos are facing the deposit limit once again, driven by the state’s desire to play it safe in the wake of another wave of lockdowns caused by the pandemic.
This time, there were no criticisms from the Swedish regulator regarding the initiative, moreover, the limit threshold was reduced, which only increases the risk of players diverting to unregulated operators.
We support the initiative of the Swedish regulator to create a report designed to analyze the effectiveness of introducing limits on deposits in online casinos. This is a rare opportunity to learn how the preventive restrictions introduced in Sweden affect not only the health of players, but also the economic performance of gambling operators in the country.
According to media reports, the full version of the report should be publically available in the second half of 2023.
Gambling is still not legalised in the country and bookmakers can operate although they aren’t officially regulated. However, many local football clubs signed sponsorship contracts with betting companies last year. Ibope Repucom specialised on the football sponsorship metrics published this information in an annual report. It covers the clubs of the Brazilian top tier (Série A) and three historic teams that played in the second-level division in 2021 which are Botafogo, Cruzeiro, and Vasco da Gama.
Betting was the leading industry among all others in the previous year in terms of football sponsorship contracts. Even the financial sector that had been the permanent leader for many years was beaten. Bookmakers supported 11 teams, 7 of them played in the top tier including the current champion Atlético Mineiro.
Betting companies were the fifth most presented brands on football shirts among 172 different enterprises that sponsored football clubs in Brazil last year.
Ivan Kurochkin’s comments
In a situation with the ever-evolving restrictions on sponsorship and placement of betting companies on the jerseys of football teams in Britain and Europe, betting companies in Brazil are actively boosting their cooperation with football teams.
In part, this became possible due to the fact that despite sports betting being legal in the country, it still lacks clear and concise regulations. While legislators are discussing possible ways to regulate sports betting, operators are using the moment to build brand awareness and secure their place next to a successful team before the regulations are launched.
Recent events in Georgia, where the government, among other things, tightened control over the betting companies' advertising, led to the termination of sponsorship contracts between bookmakers and sports clubs, which ultimately led to a mass exodus of football players from the Georgian football teams.
It's hard for me to imagine how football fans in Georgia feel, but I'm sure that a similar situation in Brazil can be extremely negatively perceived by sports fans. Given how popular football is in Brazil, it is difficult to predict the consequences that may arise in the country in the event of regulations banning betting advertising of sponsoring football clubs.
Let’s hope that the country's leadership will work closely with the regulator and business representatives in order to develop the most appropriate regulation of the industry in the country, which will not jeopardize profits from both bookmakers and sports clubs.