The UK Gambling Commission has recently issued additional data which looks at how the COVID-19 lockdown (and its subsequent easing) has affected people’s gambling behaviours in Great Britain.
Firstly, the latest information shows that there was a 2% increase in customer interactions undertaken by operators between June and July 2020. This is likely due to the new guidance that the Commission issued to online gambling operators back in May which highlighted the need to carry out customer affordability checks. At the same time, the Commission instructed operators to clamp down on bonus offers and prevent players from being able to reverse their withdrawal requests.
Secondly, the Gambling Commission found that there was a 2% reduction in the number of online slots sessions that lasted more than 60 minutes during July 2020. During the same month, there was also a small decline in customer spend (including wagers made on online slots). However, the amount wagered was still higher than in the months prior to lockdown which the UKGC believes was caused by eager punters wishing to place sports bets once live sports were allowed to resume.
Although all four nations have reintroduced restrictions (and, in some cases, local lockdowns) since the UKGC issued its latest report last week, non-essential shops and entertainment venues (including high street bookmakers, casinos, and bingo halls) are (for the meantime) allowed to stay open. The Gambling Commission, therefore, plans to continue monitoring consumer gambling behaviours across the board to see how they evolve over the coming months.
As part of its tracking of COVID-19-related risk (i.e. gambling harm), the Commission assesses the impact of the strengthened guidance that it has issued to gambling operators thus far, and where evidence identifies that consumers face additional risks, it will consider taking further action to protect online and offline gamblers.