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Data shows the impact of Covid-19 on gambling behaviour in October 2020

17 December 2020

The Gambling Commission has published further data showing how the renewed tightening of Covid-19 lockdown measures has impacted gambling behaviour in Great Britain.

The data reflects the period between March and October, inclusive, and covers both online and in-person gambling with data from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets.

The latest data for October shows:

  • The online market grew, with a month-on-month increase of 29% in gross gambling yield (GGY), and a 7% increase in active accounts. The main driver for this was real event betting – which saw 53%1 growth in GGY. Although there were increases in both the number of bets (up by 12%) and the number of active players (up by 7%), the main driver for the growth appears to be an increase in operator margins.
  • The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 12% (to 2.2m) in October from September, although this rise was at the same rate as the increase in overall sessions. The average session length remains steady at 21 minutes with around 8% of all sessions lasting more than one hour.
  • Licensed betting operators also experienced month on month growth across some metrics, with increases of 1% in bets/spins placed and 9% in GGY (to £204m) likely to be impacted by the same sporting results.

Gambling behaviours have continued to evolve as the country responds to varying levels of restrictions and we will remain vigilant in light of new national lockdowns announced in recent weeks.

We recently wrote to operators to remind them of the guidance we initially issued in May to online operators (opens in new tab) – setting out the need for improved affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. This was reinforced for land-based premises in June when they were allowed to reopen.

The Commission continues to track Covid-19 related risk by:

Assessing the impact of the strengthened guidance issued to operators Collecting and publishing the data being gathered Supporting the industry as land-based premises begin to open Where evidence identifies additional risks faced by consumers, taking further action to protect consumers.

Read market update (opens in new tab).

Read operator data (opens in new tab).

  • The online market grew, with a month-on-month increase of 29% in gross gambling yield (GGY), and a 7% increase in active accounts. The main driver for this was real event betting – which saw 53% growth in GGY1. Although there were increases in both the number of bets (up by 12%) and the number of active players (up by 7%), the main driver for the growth appears to be an increase in operator margins.

1 Real-event betting GGY levels can be volatile due to the influence of sporting event results. We would also have expected an increase in real event betting figures in October (vs September) in that the month of October included 5 Saturdays (the day with the highest number of real event betting activity).

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