July Update: UK Gambling Business Stats and Data During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The UK Gambling Commission issued a report recently, covering some interesting figures about the gambling industry in this country in March, April, and May 2020. This report was mainly made to show how the gambling business was affected on the island due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Therefore, let’s check out some of the interesting stats. Read on!

Active Players — Total Number

The data was harvested from some of the leading operators in the online gambling market, covering 80% of the entire market.

The total number of active players as of March 31, 2019, was 15,955,960, which is a -2.11% year-on-year decline compared to 15,618,569 recorded on March 31, 2020.

This number continued to decrease in April and May. The change from March to April was -5.02, and from April to May -1.2, as the number of players recorded as of May 28, 2020, was 14,661,935.

Active Players Per Verticals

Slots remained the most popular type of casino games, and their popularity even recorded a y-o-y increase of up to 25%. Almost half a million players more were interested in playing this type of games in March 2020. Other gaming activities, recorded a y-o-y increase of 13%.

Most punters were engaged in betting on real events, but these decreased, as some sports events were already cancelled in March 2020. The number of sports betting participants was 5,200,156 in March 2019, and this number decreased to 4,645,552 in the same period of 2020, which was a -11% decline.

The biggest decline was between March and April 2020, as virtually no sports were left in April. Almost 55% of players gave up on sports betting by April. This number already improved in May by 13%.

Consequently, the number of players betting on virtual events increased by far. In March 2019, there were 206,664 punters. In March 2020, a total of 388,786 punters were recorded, making an increase of 88%. The trend continued in April, with an increase of an additional 44%.

However, as soon as real sports events resumed in May, this number dropped by -48%.

Session Length

An average session length in March 2019 was 26 minutes, but this decreased in March 2020, when the average length was 22 minutes. This trend continued in April and May.


The Gross Gambling Yield was also affected by the coronavirus pandemic, and that’s visible in all gambling verticals presented in the report. 

GGY for online slots was £162,345,550 in March 2019, and this number increased to £186,659,624 in March 2020, making a 15% y-o-y increase, as more people were staying at home playing online slots. Interestingly enough, this number fell by -9% in April and then improved by 9% once again in May.

Other casino games had a different history as they reported a y-o-y decrease of 5% in March 2020. However, when many land-based platforms closed their doors, many table and card game lovers switched to online casinos, making an increase of 33% from March to April, and further 1% from April to May. 

Betting on real events was increased by 88% year-on-year in March 2020, but then declined by -62% in April. Virtual betting increased y-o-y by 37%. However, the ultimate winner was eSports betting that increased by 2922% in March 2020 compared to the same period last year.

Jul 27, 2020
Igor Rumyantsev
Igor is the Head of Banking and Licensing Department at GamingLicensing who has over 15 years of experience in the industry. He is responsible for game and payment system integration, iGaming product licensing, and B2B certification. Igor is an expert in the gambling sector and game licensing. He keeps a close watch on industry trends and is always open to new ideas that can improve GamingLicensing’s services and help our clients.