Land-based casinos may be closed during the pandemic, but some sneaky online casinos targeting customers in Asia offer unorthodox gambling options: betting on coronavirus cases. Illegal online casinos targeting Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand offer punters the chance to bet on new coronavirus cases around the world.
Gamblers Will Bet On Anything
It’s a psychological fact that gambling stirs up a specific euphoria known as the ‘gambler’s rush’, but to what lengths will punters go to get their fix? Ask Asia. Several illegal online gambling sites have targeted gamblers in certain Asian countries, offering them betting odds on coronavirus cases.
While locked away at home during the crisis, desperate gamblers in Asia can now bet on the last digit of the number of new coronavirus cases in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Gamblers can also bet on the total number of cases going up or down, or whether the number is odd or even.
According to psychiatrist Dr. Adrian Wang, problem gamblers have no problem turning to any chance to make a bet – even illegal options or unsavory bets like pandemic odds.
“The act of gambling triggers pleasure centers in the brain, releasing neurochemicals that give them a sense of reward and satisfaction,” he said. “They need this regular fix. Like an alcoholic who suddenly finds himself unable to afford whisky and has to settle for cheap rice wine, problem gamblers who can’t bet in the casino or on suspended soccer games… will take what’s available.”
Remote gambling is regulated in Singapore, and the police will take action against anyone found to be involved with illegal gambling. Illegal online casino operators can be fined up to $200,000 and anyone using the service can be fined up to $5,000.
Is Nothing Sacred?
While some gambling sites offer punters the chance to bet on innocuous outcomes like betting on weather or crazy sports wagers, psychiatrists explain why someone would bet on something as dark as disease and death.
According to psychiatrist Dr. Munidasa Winslow, if someone is a problem gambler, they will not be put off by betting on distasteful topics – like coronavirus deaths.
“Betting on the number of daily Covid-19 cases is dark, but in the mind of a gambler, it’s just another avenue for what they claim is a game of skill,” he said. They justify the distasteful betting action as necessary to feed their need to gamble.
But is there a limit? Not according to Dr. Winslow. Desperate gamblers may “bet on deaths, or when a serial killer will be caught, a lot of strange things. Even if they are gambling on people’s lives, they will make that bet if someone is willing to accept it.”
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