Latest UKGC Data Shows COVID-19 Impact Easing on Online Gambling

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission published a report showing encouraging data about the impact of COVID-19 on online gamblers’ behaviour. According to the report, there has been an overall improvement, meaning the impact of the pandemic isn’t as huge as the initial numbers reported.

The data covered in the report reflects a four-month period — March, April, May, and June. Some of the largest online gambling operators allowed the UKGC to collect anonymous data about their sites’ behaviour during the lockdown.

However, as the country started easing lockdown measures, online gamblers’ behaviour started improving a bit, showing that the guidance to online operators by the UKGC turned out to be a smart move. These guidelines required operators to make more frequent and better affordability checks, bonus offer restrictions, and more.

According to the official news piece by the UKGC, the online data that was collected during the lockdown ease showed that the gambling market in the country has “entered a new phase.”

Betting on Real Events

The data provided by big operators show an increase of 115% in GGY for betting on real events online. This data was collected between May and June, and GGY was definitely higher during June compared to the average before the lockdown.

In other words, the data show there was an increase in real event betting, especially when it comes to football. This also coincides with the return of professional football in June.

Online Video Slots

Although there has been a 1% increase of slot players since May, other numbers weren’t that positive. In fact, a 5% decrease was reported in the total number of slot spins, which resulted in a 10% decline in loss per active player. Overall, slots reported bigger losses per player compared to other online casino games.

For example, the average monthly loss for slots was £68, while that number was at £54 for betting and £37 for other casino games during June. 

Product Engagement

One way to determine whether online gambling is in peril is to measure the number of gambling activities or products that consumers undertake. The data show that the overall number of gambling products that online consumers have been taking part in has decreased, as opposed to the period when the COVID-19 crisis was at its peak. Nevertheless, overall product engagement is still higher compared to the pre-COVID period.

UKGC Gives Further Instructions

The COVID-19 crisis is changing, bringing about new challenges for the UK’s online gambling industry (and around the globe). That’s why the UKGC officials stressed that they expect the operators “to identify and interact with customers where necessary.”

The initial guidelines seem to have worked, as the number of slot sessions longer than one hour decreased by 5% in June. Also, the average session length decreased in June by one minute, which shows signs of progress.

Operators played by the rules, which can be noticed in the 12% increase in customer interactions recorded between May and June. According to the data collected in June, 6% of all these interactions include the staff contacting users directly.

The UKGC promised to continue monitoring the market, collecting data, and reporting it on their official website. If you’re interested in all the data related to COVID-19 and the UK’s online gambling sector, make sure to check their full report.

Sep 13, 2020