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COVID-19 Licensing Issues: Interest in online casinos at an all-time high Published Date: 23/05/2020

Search interest in online casinos has hit an all-time high in the UK since lockdown began.

Data from Google Trends, and reported by the BBC, shows gambling has moved online amid the closure of physical gambling venues and cancellation of sports events.

However, the Gambling Commission said there was no evidence yet of a rise in problem gambling.

Commission chief executive Neil McArthur said "We are monitoring online operators closely and if we see irresponsible behaviour we will step in immediately, suspending licences if we need to."  

The BBC reported that despite an overall drop in gambling, the commission said across the industry there had been an increase in some customers playing online slots, poker, casino gaming and virtual sports.

Engaged gamblers are also spending more time or money during lockdown, data show.

Anna Hemmings, chief executive of GamCare, a UK charity to help with problem gambling, said there was "a concerning context for people at risk".

She said "contributing factors [to gambling problems], such as financial distress, isolation and boredom" were increasing with Covid-19.