UKGC Data Reveals Covid Impact On UK Gambling Trends

According to fresh estimates released by the UK Gambling Commission, data from the largest operators, which account for over 80 percent of the online gambling market, revealed that active players declined in all but one vertical in May of this year.

Real event betting has decreased by 24 percent in comparison to the previous month, with 5,127,999 active users compared to 6,708,655 in April.

The data comprised both online and, where relevant, some offline gambling operator data between March 2020 and May 2021, while taking into account the fact that land-based locations have just recently been able to reopen pursuant to COVID-19.

Slots gross gambling yield up

The data shows that online betting activity has fallen, while total bets have remained stable. Meanwhile, between April and May, slots Gross Gambling Yield grew to £211 million, with the number of spins increasing 2 percent and the number of active players declining 5 percent.

In addition, the number of online slots sessions lasting more than an hour declined by 1 percent to just under 2.6 million, while the average session time grew to 20.7 minutes, with over 9 percent of all sessions lasting more than an hour.

The UKGC said in a statement: “It is likely many have picked up new gambling routines and habits during lockdown that may be hard to change as things return to normal, even as normal spending on other things resumes. This could be challenging for some and important for operators to identify through their monitoring. 

“We know that some consumers, such as highly engaged gamblers who play a range of products, are likely to spend more time and money gambling and with high level sporting events taking place over the summer there are more opportunities for betting customers to gamble.”

Continuation of following guidelines

Operators are expected to stick to the stronger recommendations offered during the initial shutdown in the future, paying particular attention to data that shows users spending more time or money than usual.

Furthermore, they are expected to interact immediately where triggers are achieved, in addition to their more general email involvement, and to avoid exploiting the current scenario of lockdown relaxing for marketing purposes — keeping cautious whenever attempting to cross-sell products. Finally, operators have been encouraged to use extreme caution when onboarding new consumers and making any decisions regarding affordability checks.

Meanwhile, the UKGC plans to continue monitoring any pandemic risks by assessing the impact of the strengthened guidance to operators, monitoring and publishing any additional key data, assisting the industry with the reopening of land-based locations, and taking additional steps to protect customers.

joe profile pic

About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.