The Gambling Commission has published data to June 2022, with the dataset collected since March 2020 showing gambling behaviour has changed over the period.
Retail sectors1 mainly reopened on the following dates after the last set of restrictions:
- 12 April 2021 - Licenced betting operators
- 17 May 2021 - Arcades, bingo, and casinos
All remaining restrictions were removed in England on 17 July 2021.
Minor restrictions, such as the need for face coverings and guidance to work from home, were brought in by the UK government from October 2021 to January 2022 to help tackle the Omicron variant.
Operators still need to be mindful about the potential of some consumers to be increasing their spend on some of the more intensive products while going through financial hardship brought on by wider economics factors.
We will publish this data on a quarterly basis, and as a result this analysis makes a quarter-on-quarter comparison. Please note that this refers to quarter one (Q1) in the financial year 2022-2023 (91 days) and quarter four (Q4) in the financial year 2021-2022 (90 days).
Caution is advised when making year-on-year comparisons for some months due to the different circumstances between 2020 and 2022. For example, retail estates were in operation for most of March 2020, but fully closed in March 2021.
This release covers data from online operators and Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets.
The online gambling data, collected from the largest online operators, now covers the months March 2020 through to June 2022.
Comparison should not be made with the industry statistics dataset, as the market impact data may include free bets and bonuses.
Latest data shows total GGY stayed relatively steady at £1.2 billion in Q1 (April to June), an increase of nearly 1% from Q4 (January to March). The increase was driven by the slots vertical.
Both the overall number of total bets/spins and the number of average monthly active accounts2 increased 5% between Q4 and Q1, likely to be as a result of the Grand National in April.
We will continue to collect and monitor the data to inform our views of risk.
Online real event betting
Online real event betting GGY decreased 3% between Q4 and Q1, to £479m. The number of bets increased by 12% while the number of average monthly active accounts increased by 11% between Q4 and Q1, reflecting the increase in recreational gambling usually seen due to the Grand National which takes place in April.
Slots GGY increased 4% to £565 million between Q4 and Q1, after previously falling to £541 million in Q4. The number of spins increased 5% to 18.7 billion, while the number of average monthly active accounts increased 4% to reach nearly 3.6 million. The number of spins per active player remained steady between Q4 & Q1.
Safer gambling indicators
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 5% to 8.4 million between Q4 and Q1. The average session length decreased by a minute to 17 minutes, with approximately 7% of all sessions lasting in excess of one hour during Q1.
The number of customer interactions in Q1 remained level at 3.3 million, with the majority remaining automated in nature.3 The number of direct interactions undertaken by operators increased by 2% from Q4.
The Commission has collected data from the largest Licenced betting operators (LBOs) for the months of March (pre-lockdown) and June 2020 through to June 2022. It is worth noting that LBOs closed on 20 March 2020 and re-opened4 from 15 June 2020 before entering a tiered system in October 2020 and closing January 2021. LBOs were permitted to reopen again 12 April 2021.
Absolute values are not directly comparable for some months between these periods for several reasons including:
- retail not in operation for a full month in March and June 2020
- phased openings of premises after restrictions began to lift from June 2020
- local restrictions throughout 2020
- impact of restrictions on other retail gambling sectors.
GGY reported for Q1 (April to June) increased by 6% from Q4 (January to March) to £584 million, while the number of total bets and spins increased 3% to 3.3 billion.
Over the Counter (OTC)
The number of bets placed over the counter increased 8% in Q1 to 156 million, while GGY increased 10% to £194 million.
Self-Service Betting Terminals (SSBT)
The number of bets placed decreased by 4% from Q4 to 27.4 million, while GGY decreased by 1% during the same period to £97 million.
Machines GGY increased 6% in Q1 to £294 million with average spend per session increasing to £11.98. The average number of spins per machines session remained level at 129 spins in Q1.
Safer Gambling Indicators
Similar to Q3 and Q4, 3% of total machines sessions lasted more than an hour in Q1.
Unique customer numbers are not available but the data does indicate the potential for an increase in intensity of play and the need for operators to remain vigilant in line with the Commission’s latest guidance.