The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the gambling industry in the United Kingdom, as it has almost every gambling industry around the world. The UK Gambling Commission recently published data to show how the pandemic has affected gambling behavior among players in Great Britain. The data covers a time frame from March to August when the pandemic first took hold and looks at both online and land-based gambling activities.
The Gambling Commission looked at betting in the online sector as well as from Licensed Betting Operators located on the high streets of Britain. Additional data was provided by consumer research. For August, the latest data shows that the online market saw the number of bets decrease by 2%. For real event betting, the percentage was much higher, with a decrease of 12%.
The drop could be attributed to several factors. At the time, the English Premier League was on a break. There was also the holiday season plus restrictions were loosened regarding discretionary spending. For online slot gaming, sessions that were over an hour decreased by 7%. On average, players are logging on to enjoy slot games for about 21 minutes.
When it comes to customer interactions, they were on the rise, up by 11%. GGY for high street betting remains at a steady pace. However, total bets and spins are down by around 2% since the month of July.
The Commission will continue to track COVID-19 and related risks to ensure the industry stays safe for consumers. The Commission has plans to continually assess the impact of strengthened guidance to operators as well as collect data and publish it to inform the public and operators.
The Commission also has plans to support the industry as land-based facilities start to open and will take further action to protect consumers when evidence is present that additional risks are at play.