The UK Gambling Commission has come up with a few initiatives in the past few months. For example, at the beginning of this month, we have reported that the regulator launched its competition to award the Fourth National Lottery Licence. On the other hand, the UKGC was criticised for their decision to cut jobs and was publicly asked by the Betting and Gaming Council to do more to support retail gambling.
As a result of all the initiatives and activities that the regulator conducted the previous months, the UK Gambling Commission has published data showing how easing the lockdown measures has impacted gambling behaviour in Great Britain. The data reflects March, April, May, June and July and covers both online and in-person gambling. It includes consumer research and data from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets.
A slight decrease in the UK online gambling revenue
The data collected from the biggest gambling operators, covering about 80% of the online market and 85% in retail, shows how the lockdown impacted gambling activities in the UK from March to July. According to the figures released by the UKGC, the online gambling revenue in the UK has decreased due to the reopening of betting shops. The data showed that online betting gross gambling yield (GGY) decreased 4% from June to July, while sports betting gross gambling revenue (GGR) was down to £209.3m.
In addition, the new data also reveals that the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 2% in July, while the number of customer interactions undertaken by operators rose by 2%. Virtual betting GGR decreased for the third month in a row, down 17% month-on-month for July to £7.9m, while esports fell by 25%, to £2.6m. Only the revenue of online bets placed was increased by 5% to £267.2m.
In terms of consumer data, the UK Gambling Commission found that 2.7% of UK residents who didn’t gamble before decided to try online gambling during the lockdown. But, two-thirds of them stopped gambling once the lockdown was lifted. Moreover, only 2% of the gamblers transferred their activities online when retail options were paused. More than half of the online gamblers continued to play online. Also, about 5% of existing gamblers made a change in their online gambling activities and turned from sports to virtual sports.
House of Lords launches Peers for Gambling Reform group
Meanwhile, the UK gambling industry has welcomed a new group in the House of Lords, called the Peers for Gambling Reform Group (PGR), chaired by Liberal Democrat Lord Foster of Bath. The purpose of this new peer-led group is to review different aspects of operations across the UK gambling industry and to provide recommendations to the government on reforms that should be made. The creation of this group comes as the UK government is looking to update the country,s gambling laws and the 2005 Gambling Act.
In addition, the group will promote the recommendations by the House of Lords in order to ensure that the government and the UKGC take immediate action to implement changes. The main priorities of the PGR Group include the introduction of effective affordability checks, limits on speed of play and stake limits for online gambling, and enhanced testing for harm across new products. They plan to review how operators deal with gambling addiction, speed of play, stakes limits, marketing and loot boxes.