The Gambling Commission has published data to September 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 release refers to quarters one and two in the financial year 2022-2023.
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 September 2022.
Comparison should not be made with the industry statistics dataset, as the market impact data may include free bets and bonuses.
Latest data2 shows total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) decreased to £1.2 billion in quarter 2 (Q2) (July to September), a decrease of 4 percent from quarter one (Q1) (April to June). The decrease was driven by the betting (real event) vertical.
Both the overall number of total bets and or spins and the number of average monthly active accounts3 decreased between Q1 and Q2, -1 percent and -9 percent respectively.
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 6 percent between Q1 and Q2, to £452 million. The number of bets decreased by 5 percent while the number of average monthly active accounts decreased by 15 percent between Q1 and Q2.
Slots GGY decreased 3 percent to £548 million between Q1 and Q2, after previously increasing to £565 million in Q1. The number of spins decreased 2 percent to 18.5 billion, while the number of average monthly active accounts decreased 4 percent to 3.4 million. The number of spins per active player increased 3 percent between Q1 and Q2.
Safer gambling indicators
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour remained stable at 8.4 million between Q1 and Q2. The average session length remained at 17 minutes, with approximately 7 percent of all sessions lasting in excess of one hour during Q2.
The number of customer interactions in Q2 decreased by 10 percent to 2.9 million, with the majority remaining automated in nature4. The number of direct interactions undertaken by operators increased by 10 percent from Q1.
The Commission has collected data from the largest Licenced betting operators (LBOs) for the months of March (pre-lockdown) and June 2020 through to September 2022. It is worth noting that LBOs closed on 20 March 2020 and re-opened5 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 Q2 (July to September) decreased by 8 percent from Q1 (April to June) to £540 million, while the number of total bets and spins decreased 5 percent to 3.2 billion.
Over the Counter (OTC)
The number of bets placed over the counter decreased 9 percent in Q2 to 142 million, while GGY decreased 15 percent to £165 million.
Self-Service Betting Terminals (SSBT)
The number of bets placed decreased by 4 percent from Q1 to 26.3 million, while GGY decreased by 3 percent during the same period to £94 million.
Machines GGY decreased 4 percent in Q2 to £281 million with average spend per session increasing to £12.09. The average number of spins per machines session remained level at 129 spins in Q2.
Safer Gambling Indicators
Similar to Q4 (2021/22) and Q1, 3 percent of total machines sessions lasted more than an hour in Q2.