UK online gambling activities reduce in August

Simona Boshkova | Published 15 Oct 2020, 9:36 a.m.

Gambling behaviours in the UK continue to evolve as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) responds to the challenges arising from the current situation. As a result, the regulator partnered with Facebook to create guidance that will reduce the number of gambling-related ads that users see on the social media platform. There has also been new guidance for VIP schemes which protects high-value and VIP customers. Moreover, yesterday we’ve reported that the UKGC called for more action from the financial sector to reduce gambling harm.

According to statistics released by the UK Gambling Commission, the UK online gambling activity slowed in August. Yesterday, the regulator published a report showing how the current circumstances have impacted gambling behaviour in the UK. 

Gross gambling yield went down by 12%

The UK Gambling Commission has published further data on gambling activities in the UK for the period between March and August. The data covers both online and in-person gambling from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets and includes consumer research. According to the figures released by the regulator, there has been a decrease in online gambling activities in different sectors. A similar situation happened in July, when the regulator reported a slight decrease in the online gambling revenue.

The number of online bets fell 2%, of which real event betting reduced by 12% and the number of active players was also down by 7%. The number of online slot sessions, which lasted longer than an hour, is now down by 7%, while the average session remained steady at 21 minutes. Overall, the gross gambling yield (GGY) went down by 12%. The Commission suggests that is due to the seasonal break in English Premier League football, the holiday seasons and the loosening of restrictions opening a wider variety of spending options.

Furthermore, the seasonal break of the Premier League also contributed to a 10% decline in real event sports betting active players, and the total number of real event bets fell 12% from July to August. However, the betting revenue suffered the biggest decline, as it fell down by 21% from July. In terms of other casino games, there have also been some losses. The number of active players went down by 5%, poker actives fell 10%, poker bets fell 7%, and revenue went down by 8%. The UKGC didn’t report any figures for eSports, but eSports revenue decreased by 29% to £1.83m, less than half the sum reported in April.

Most of the gamblers remained to spend the same

When asked, about 70% of the gamblers said that their spending has remained the same since the lockdown ended. 18% decreased their spending, while just 8% reported that they have spent more. In addition, 29% of the gamblers said that they plan to reduce spending over the following three months.

The number of non-gamblers who started gambling during the lockdown was about 4%, 1.4% of which continued gambling post-lockdown. Only 0.7% of the players who tried one or more new gambling products continued to use them after the lockdown. The UK Gambling Commission said that it will continue to track the post-lockdown risk by assessing the impact of the guidance issued to operators, collecting and publishing data, supporting the industry, and taking further action to protect consumers when needed.

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