Self-reported changes in engagement in offline and online gambling during temporary COVID-19 restrictions on access to land-based gambling venues in Poland and their relation to the gambling disorder
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Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II, Instytut Psychologii, Katedra Psychoprofilaktyki Społecznej
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II, Instytut Psychologii, Katedra Psychologii Społecznej i Psychologii Religii
Submission date: 2023-01-17
Final revision date: 2023-04-06
Acceptance date: 2023-05-11
Online publication date: 2024-02-28
Publication date: 2024-02-28
Corresponding author
Bernadeta Lelonek-Kuleta   

Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II, Instytut Psychologii
Psychiatr Pol 2024;58(1):95-119
This study aimed to trace changes in the participation of Polish gamblers in online and offline (land-based) gambling caused by the temporary restrictions on access to land-based gambling venues imposed during the first national lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Data from 585 respondents were collected using an online questionnaire. Those who declared they had engaged in land-based gambling before 15 March 2020 were included in the sample. Respondents were asked about their online and offline gambling participation in the period before the first lockdown (before March 2020), during the first lockdown (15 March to 10 May 2020), and six months after the end of the lockdown. The analyses also considered the severity of the participants’ gambling disorder symptoms measured with the CPGI and the reasons for reducing or increasing gambling involvement.

The land-based gamblers most often maintained their gambling activity at the same level or reduced it during the lockdown (nearly 95% of gamblers). Motivations for less gambling included financial constraints and limited access to gambling. Increased offline gambling was explained by more free time, the need to relieve stress and to want to win money. Of the 394 people who had gambled only offline before the pandemic, 30 began to gamble online during the pandemic. The initiation of online gambling and increased online or offline gambling during the coronavirus outbreak was associated with greater severity of gambling disorder symptoms.

In our sample, participation in gambling increased only marginally during the pandemic, and the increase was related to problematic gambling patterns.

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