UKGC Reports Month-On-Month Decline For July On Online Gambling

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has reported that July saw a slight month-on-month decline in the amount spent by customers on online gambling (including online slots) to monitor the performance of all approved gambling verticals.

The UKGC released additional data for the period from May to July 2020 on gambling customer preferences and operator engagements reported across land-based and digital verticals.

In a detailed statement the commission said: “Gambling behaviours continue to evolve as the country continues to move out of full lockdown into the autumn months but still provide justification for the Commission’s updated guidance to operators.”

The UKGC announced between June and July that GGY decreased by 4 percent across all vertical online gambling, marking the first month-on – month decline since April.

Despite the downturn, the UKGC maintained that figures remain ‘above pre-covid levels,’ guided by a ‘pent-up demand for sports betting’ that saw figures boosted by the reopening of sports betting markets in June.

The commission noted that ‘high GGY levels’ have continued into July for online sportsbooks, while GGY figures have decreased marginally (-4 percent) from their June peak.

The number of bets (up by 5 percent since June) and the number of active players (up by 4 percent since June) have also increased marginally, consistent with its ‘pent-up demand’ observation for the return of sports, Sportsbook figures showed.

The UKGC reported a 2 percent decline in online slots GGY to £162 million between June and July, tracking online casino engagements.

The UKGC reported during the time that online slot sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 2 percent, but total operator-recorded customer interactions increased by 2percent.

The UKGC observed: “This increase inactive players and a slight decrease in overall GGY means again during July there has been a slight decrease in the average loss per player. Although the av. loss figure for slots is still meaningfully higher than any other online gambling product (£66 for slots versus £50 for real event betting and £37 for casino during July).”

The time saw UK licenced retail bookmakers from 15 June reopen their betting estates. While the Commission obtained retail data from the largest LBOs, it emphasised that, due to staggered openings, local constraints and individual corporate strategies for reopening retail units, ‘absolute values’ could not be directly comparable.

Consequently, the UKGC based its retail research on ‘share of spend across available shop products’  over producing absolute retail output values – “data from subsequent months will be needed to help to build a more robust set of comparative data, post premises reopening.”

At retail level, the UKGC found that ‘the product mix has shifted more towards machines’ – with its indicators pointing out that ‘spend, length and proportion per session in excess of an hour has all increased noticeably since reopening.’

GGY per session in June increased by 37 percent from March 2020 to a level of £ 11.98 in June for computer engagements. Although that declined in July to £10.53, it remains higher than the £8.72 pre-lockdown figure.

Meanwhile, customer experiences over-the-counter ( OTC) decreased by 3 percent in June, shifting retail sales that saw OTC contribute GGY by 30 percent in June, while GGY machines increased from 48 percent to 57 percent in the same period.

In its ‘Safer Gambling Indicators’ Note, the UKGC highlighted the above shift as a concern, adding:“As retail reflects new customer behaviour we could be seeing a mix of both displacement of activity from OTC to machines with consumers possibly wanting to limit contact with other individuals, and the return of only the most engaged individuals.”