The COVID-19 pandemic led to unprecedented restrictions on people’s movements and interactions, as well as the cancellation of major sports events and social activities, directly altering the gambling landscape. There is urgent need to provide regulators, policy makers and treatment providers with evidence on the patterns and context of gambling during COVID-19 and its aftermath. This protocol describes a study addressing the following three questions: (1) How has COVID-19 changed gambling practices and the risk factors for, and experience of, gambling harms? (2) What is the effect of COVID-19 on gambling marketing? (3) How has COVID-19 changed high risk groups’ gambling experiences and practices? This mixed-method study focuses on two groups, namely young adults and sports bettors. In workpackage-1, we will extend an existing longitudinal survey of gambling in young adults (aged 16–24 years) (first wave conducted June–August 2019), adding COVID-19-related questions to the second wave (July–August 2020) and extending to a third wave in 2021; and undertake a survey of sports bettors in the UK (baseline n = 4000, July–August 2020), with follow-ups in October–November 2020 and February-March 2021. In workpackage-2, we will examine changes in expenditure on paid-for gambling advertising from January 2019 to July 2021 and undertake a mixed-method content analysis of a random sample of paid-for gambling advertising (n  200) and social media marketing (n  100) during the initial COVID-19 “lockdown”. Workpackage-3 will involve qualitative interviews with a purposive sample of (a) young adults (aged 18–24 years) and (b) sports bettors.


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Hunt, K., Critchlow, N., Brown, A., Bunn, C., Dobbie, F., Donnachie, C., Gray, C., Purves, R., Reith, G., Stead, M., Mitchell, D. & Wardle, H. 2020, 'Protocol for a mixed-method investigation of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and gambling practices, experiences and marketing in the UK: the “Betting and Gaming COVID-19 Impact Study”', International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(22), article no: 8449. http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17228449

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Last updated: 03 September 2022
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