UKGC sees a 30% rise in online gambling’s market gross

Cvetanka Cvetanovska | Published 25 Feb 2021, 10:32 a.m.

This Tuesday, the UKGC published its latest insights showing how the tightening measures and restrictions have impacted online gambling in the UK. The data covers the period between March and December 2020, covering both online and relevant brick and mortar operators. The general findings are that the online market notes a gradual month-on-month increase of 6% in actives and 12% in bets. November’s numbers show that overall GGY went up by 30%, marking the regulator’s highest level since it started publishing monthly insights. This data is gathered from the top-performing UK operators, covering 80% of the industry.

Active players and online sessions on the rise

Online sports betting noticed the biggest boost during a period of strong margins and a strict schedule, showing a 53% monthly increase and reaching £319m. Slot games’ GGY in December reached nearly £200m, noting a rise of 13%, and casino games have also contributed with an 11% increase, or £74m.  Poker contributed £9.4m, while virtual bets, esports and others add up to the monthly totals. This data clearly points to an increase in online gambling activities, especially in gaming. Here, the number of monthly active players increased by 14% to more than 2 million amid a 15% rise in bets.

The number of online slots sessions longer than one hour have also noticed an 11% increase (2.5 million) in the one month period. The average online session lasted nearly 22 minutes, while 8% of the sessions lasted more than an hour. Active slots players rose by 6%, while stakes on slots increased by 12%.

Following the background, the sensitivity of this data and the UKGC’s experience with handling these insights, they call on additional operator caution. Just recently, they’ve been quite bold in announcing the new measures for online slots that will need to be implemented by the end of 2021. The Commission expects them to follow the guidelines and recommendations, interact, and react directly when specific triggers and unusual engagements occur. Moreover, they shouldn’t try to take advantage of the current situation for personal and marketing purposes and take particular care when handling new customers and making decisions.

BGC continue to promote safe gambling initiatives

The UK Gambling Commission continues to assess, track and publish relevant data following the consumer and operator behaviour in iGaming. This way, they can support the industry and adjust the offers according to restrictions. Where data and further evidence identifies a risk, they’ll take further action to protect both parties and ensure high standard operations.
Following another survey by the UKGC showing a decline in problem gambling behaviour, the BGC said they’ll “keep the momentum” in raising the betting industry standards.

The study based on a survey of 4,007 UK adults between March and December showed that the rate of players classified in the “moderate risk” group saw a decline from %1.2 to %0.9 in one year. On the other hand, the “low risk “ rate fell from %2.7 to %2 over the same period, confirming that the problem gambling rate has been stable for the past two decades.

The BGC executive for standards and innovation Wes Himes said that since 2019, they’ve been proactive in improving the regulated betting and gaming industry standards while promoting safe gambling. Some of their initiatives include encouraging deposit limits, supporting education and treatment and introducing new online advertising codes and VIP schemes. They look forward to engaging with the government’s gambling review and ensure a safer gaming environment for millions of players. 

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