Since COVID-19 led to the first UK national lockdown back on March 23rd, 2020, the UK Gambling Commission has been collecting data to help it determine how the pandemic has been (and continues to) affect people’s gambling behaviour in the United Kingdom.
Last week, the Commission published its latest report which now includes data up until the end of August, and it covers both in-person and online gambling.
The statistics are collected from online gambling operators as well as licensed betting operators (LBOs) in the UK’s many towns and cities, as well as consumer research.
The report’s findings show that our gambling behaviours have continued to evolve as land-based casinos and bingo halls were finally allowed to reopen after lockdown was lifted. Plus, according to the UK Gambling Commission, it “further underlines the importance of [its] updated guidance to operators” such as the need for affordability checks, restrictions on welcome and bonus offers, and the prevention of withdrawal reversals.
August’s data produced four key findings.
- There was a marked rise (N.B., 11%) in customer interactions, with 4% of them occurring as a direct result of operators making contact first.
- On the UK’s high streets, the total number of bets and spins decreased by 2% on the previous month while GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) has remained steady.
- Gamblers who play online slots have cut their session times, leading to a 7% decrease in playing sessions that last over an hour. The average session length continues to remain steady at just over 20 minutes.
- The online gambling market has slightly contracted, causing GGY to decrease by 12%, the number of active customers to decline by 7%, and the number of bets placed down 2%. The UKGC believes that this dip is likely to be due to summer holidays, the break in English Premier League football, and the loosening of local and national restrictions that allowed players “more discretionary spending options”.
This indicates that so far at least there are no major surges or declines as the Covid-19 situation fluctuates, but it will be interesting to see the developing trends as these figures continue to be produced.