Betting and casino gaming are activities that we all just think happen quite randomly. Once someone feels the urge or desire to play, they will access a casino game or sportsbook and go for it. Of course, people bet 24/7 but when exactly are people participate in betting and gaming the most. Surely there are times of the day that witness more traffic than other hours. Why is this? And is it the same for sports betting as it is for casino gameplay?
That’s precisely what we intend to look at today – when people bet and play games the most. Plus, is there any relation to the time that people participate in these gambling activities and gambling addiction? Could it be that players accessing casino games late at night are more likely to suffer from problem gambling than those engaging in it at lunchtime? Let’s see what the figures show and how they could be of vital inside information to responsible gambling campaigners.
Sports Betting Surge Prior to Huge Events
It stands to reason that most people would be looking to place sports wagers right before their favourite sporting events occur. After all, there’s little point in trying to make a bet on it once it’s ended! That being said, with many sportsbooks now offering their members the possibility of placing wagers on events while they’re in-play, this isn’t always the case. For events like the FIFA World Cup or Wimbledon as two examples, sports bettors will be out in force both prior to and during the games played throughout the tournaments.
As a matter of fact, during the 2018 FIFA World Cup, a total of €136 billion was registered in betting turnover for the time period that it occurred. That figure, which was also confirmed by FIFA, came about as part of an estimated global betting turnover of €2.1 billion per match in the tournament. Much of that was generated prior to the events taking place, with the majority of those bets being placed within a couple of days before. Of course, these types of tournaments, including the Olympics, the aforementioned Wimbledon and so on, do not occur every month. Instead, they’re either annual, bi-annual or quadrennial events. What about the sports events that take place on a more frequent basis?
Well, it can be said that it’s pretty much the same situation in most cases. As a sports event gets closer, more people are likely to get hyped up for it, and in that instance, proceed with placing a bet on it. Of course, the more popular sports such as football, tennis, basketball and so on tend to have much more activity than the rarer sports. If the Super Bowl is approaching for example, there will be a surge in people betting on which NFL team they believe will win it. However, during the normal NFL season, prior to each event taking place, sports betting sites will see a surge in people opting to place wagers.
Of course modern betting sites provide sports betting 24 hours a day from leagues across the world so there is always something to bet on. People who bet regularly on foreign sports they know little about at unsavory times, however, could be showing signs gambling addiction. It is one of the things sites monitor to check for signs of harm.
Casino Gameplay in the Evenings
Casino gaming is a different ballgame altogether. After all, there isn’t really anything that would act as a prime reason for people choosing to play games at a specific time. Instead, it would generally depend upon when there is time for the player to access games. Generally, people who play games will spend longer on a site than people who bet on sports, which can often be done in seconds. Therefore, most will only access a site when they have time to play for a period of time.
The majority of people work during the day, so it’s essentially not a convenient time for them to also participate in casino gameplay during the standard working day hours. It’s for this reason that the evening hours of the day generally see a spike in player participation at online casinos as well as an increase in promotions, happy hours, special events, etc.
It’s for this reason that various land-based casinos don’t open their doors until later on in the day, because they know that custom will be slow before those hours. Online casinos are always available around-the-clock, but in the same way, they don’t experience such a rush in traffic until the evening hours.
As far as a specific time of the year, some people have come to the theory that it’s better to play games towards the end of a month. This is more than likely just a theory based on speculation, because all games are random, and nothing can be done to influence their outcome. However, some people believe that jackpots build up more towards the end of a month, and for this reason, accessing a casino and playing these games at such a time gives you more chance of hitting a big win. That’s certainly not something that can be 100% negated, but then again, if these slot games and progressive jackpots are entirely random, it sort of suggests this isn’t the case at all.
Many people are also paid monthly so naturally have more leisure money to spend at the end of a month when they have just been paid.
At the same time, some people have questioned when the best time to play slots and other games at a casino is. The truth of the matter is that there isn’t really a so-called “best time”, because platforms are open 24/7. It’s more so about there being a convenience factor for you, rather than there being a specific best time. It’s just that more people are freer in the evenings than during the day, so this is when traffic at online casinos tends to peak.
Perhaps not so surprising though, is that during the corona virus outbreak in 2020 more people worked from home or couldn’t work at all and this caused a particular increase on casino gaming sessions. Although it is worth bearing in mind this was bigger during the first lockdown when sports were cancelled compared to subsequent lockdowns when professional sports continued.
During the United Kingdom’s first lockdown in the second quarter of 2020, people seeking out online casino sites hit an all-time high. This was partially due to the fact that land-based establishments were forced to close their doors for a period of time, but also because people were spending more time at home rather than in an office, for example. The most popular locations in the UK for casino searches were Hull, Stoke-on-Trent, Bradford and Bolton – all Northern cities in England. Information about the times of day that these searches occurred in their majority was not made available, though.
Does Time of Day Have an Effect on Problem Gambling?
One big question about the time of day when betting and gaming take place, is whether or not it has any sort of effect on problem gambling figures. Well, there could be some sort of insight into that, as it happens. According to studies carried out by responsible gambling charity Gamble Aware and accountancy firm PwC, people with online gambling problems are likely to participate in such activities in the middle of the night. At the same time, such players are likely to spend an average of £98 per day and place up to 90 bets per session.
Those figures, as reported by The Guardian, are in stark comparison to people who aren’t considered to be at risk, who wager just £14 per session, split between two and seven bets.
Gamble Aware said that problem gamblers who were spoken to and studied as part of the investigation were “more likely to place bets between midnight and 4am, and to gamble throughout the week, rather than mainly on a Saturday”. The weekend day is supposedly when non-risk players participate in their gaming activities. Those at the highest risk of developing a gambling addiction are likely to be young, unmarried men who are also unemployed but looking for work.
The study was carried out in 2017 so that online betting companies can identify and protect those individuals who are at greatest risk of suffering from gambling addiction. However, Gamble Aware did not provide ideas on the ways that the operators could intervene in an addict’s gambling activities.
Of course, campaigners have long stated that online betting companies have been slow with addressing the issue of problem gambling. Speaking on the matter, the Labour MP for Swansea East, Carolyn Harris mentioned that it is quite the inconvenient truth for online gambling companies that “such a huge proportion of their revenue comes from problem gambling”. Therefore, it’s of little wonder that they had taken very little serious action towards the issue, due to wanting to protect their own commercial interest.
Therefore, it could be said that those people partaking in late-night online gambling are more at risk of developing a gambling problem. Naturally, that’s not the circumstance for each and every person engaging in evening betting. However, the likelihood of contracting an addiction is higher at those hours. Whereas if you’re engaging in casino gaming and sports betting on a Saturday more so than any other day, you’re considered to be less of a risk in this area.
Do You Have To Bet Every Day To Be A Problem Gambler?
The information discovered in the research noted above does seem to highlight that weekday gambling at late hours is common for addicted people. However, is it true that you have to participate in betting every single day at those hours to be considered a problem gambler? Well, not really. A problem gambler could actually involve himself or herself in gambling so frequently, but it’s also possible to be addicted and only engage in such activities on infrequent occasions. Gambling can be considered a problem if it actually causes problems and harm for you or those around you.
Of course, gambling problems aren’t solely a problem for those that cannot afford it. Many people with a wealth of money engage in accessing online gambling, but have the mental struggles associated with gambling addiction. That’s still a problem, regardless of if they have £100,000 in their bank account or £10. Too much time spent on gambling activities can result in relationship problems, family issues, job loss and so on. And again, this matters regardless of your bank balance.
Problem gambling is a much bigger issue than many people understand, though. Regardless of what time of day a person participates in gambling, reports suggest that a problem gambling-related suicide occurs every single day. The House of Lords review from earlier on in 2020 discovered that 2 million British gamblers are affected by betting, and 50,000 children are hooked on it, too.
About 300,000 people are addicted to gambling, with each of these harming six of their loved ones through crime, domestic violence, lost jobs and family breakup. It was this evidence that forced the government towards taking drastic action. Calls for restrictions on football advertising, mandatory checks to ensure affordability by gamblers and a crackdown on video game loot boxes luring children in have all been noted.
One story came to light of a man who was sentenced to three years in prison in November 2019 for stealing in order to fund his gambling addiction. This has left his wife to raise their two children alone for that timeframe, and various other shocking stories have been mentioned of vulnerable people being targeted by betting firms. That has left them feeling “groomed” by those companies, so to speak.
At the end of the day, betting will always have problems associated with it, which is why responsible gambling should always be undertaken by participants. And that’s something that should be adhered to regardless of the time of day they’re accessing online gambling sites. Of course, with the fact that research has been carried out so as to discover what times of day people are more likely to be affected by gambling addiction, operators of such sites now have vital information to monitor their players. And this is something that they should do out of support and protection for their gamers.
Sports betting is a different area altogether, as the various sporting events play out at different times of the year. Therefore, when people partake in sports betting depends upon when those matches are occurring more so. However, this doesn’t make the threat of gambling addiction any less. Sports bettors can still become addicted to these activities, and like was mentioned before, it doesn’t always have to relate to a specific time of day as to when this is occurring. In fact, those that choose to bet on strange events at strange times are the ones that get flagged the most for potential addiction.