The Gambling Commission has published further data for November showing how the renewed tightening of Covid-19 lockdown measures, which came into effect at the start of November have impacted online gambling behaviour.
Data collected in November, covering the entire period of England’s second lockdown, shows some similarities to gambling behaviour as seen in first tightening of restrictions which began in March, where online gambling became the only means of gambling activity.
Although there are some similarities, one of the main differentiating factors between the restrictions starting in March and November has been the continuation of top-tier sporting events which was previously banned in the first lockdown. Another main difference is that schools stayed open in November.
This highlights the importance of our recent letter to online operators reminding them that people across the country are now facing restrictions that are likely to mean they are spending more time at home and some people may be feeling vulnerable as a result of the restrictions and uncertainty about their personal, employment or financial circumstances.
Operators need to be mindful about the potential of some consumers to be increasing their spend on some of the more intensive products whilst at the same time still engaging in real event betting activity, which was not meaningfully available during the initial lockdown.
Please note that given the tightening of lockdown restrictions and the furloughing of many staff, we did not request data from LBOs for November. We will restart collecting this data at a time when LBOs are able to reopen.
The online gambling data, collected from the largest online operators, now covers the months March 2020 through to November 2020.
GGY decreased by 13% (to £471.5m) between October and November, driven by a decrease in real event betting GGY as betting margins normalised after their high levels during October.
The overall number of total bets/spins increased by 4% from October, while the number of active accounts increased by 3%.
We will continue to collect and monitor the data to inform our views of risk, and if these changes appear to be more than short-term fluctuations, and affecting wider groups of consumers, we will not hesitate to take further action.
Online real event betting
Online real event betting GGY decreased by 28% between October and November to £209m, as margins normalised after high levels in October. Real event betting continues to be the largest vertical by GGY, with increases seen in the number of bets (up by 4%) and the number of active accounts (up by 4%).
Slots GGY increased by 3% to nearly £177m. The number of bets also increased (4% to over 5.2bn) along with the number of active accounts (up 1% to 2.8m), a figure which is the highest from within the Covid-19 pandemic period.
The average loss-per-player continues to remain meaningfully higher than any other online gambling product (nearly £63 for slots versus £43 for real event betting and £35 for casino).
The total number of online slots sessions increased 2% to just over 27.5m, with the average number of spins per session increasing slightly since October.
Safer gambling indicators
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 3% (to 2.2m) in October to November; 1% higher than the increase in overall sessions. The average session length increased by 1 minute to 22 minutes with around 8% of all sessions lasting in excess of 1 hour.
Between October and November, the number of customer interactions undertaken rose by 3% (to just over 1m) of which the majority were automated in nature1.
Operator data indicates that during November, the proportion of those interactions that were direct contact from staff has fallen slightly to 3.7%.