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UKGC: Lockdowns and Coronavirus did not increase gambling in the United Kingdom

Many people in the UK had claimed that once lockdowns are imposed on the country, gambling will see a spike in gambling figures. The UKGC and also the House of Commons wanted to gather data to look at how the pandemic and lockdowns impacted the overall betting margin.

The UKGC published data to see how gambling was impacted. The data published is evidence gathered between March and November 2020, and covers mainly online gambling activities.  Due to the fact that many companies were closed, or operating with many restrictions due to the pandemic, the UKGC opted not to request data from LBOs. However the firm will start the collection of gambling data and figures again once all the LBOs will have the facility to reopen for business.

The data collected will come as a shock to many people who felt gambling will flourish during lockdowns.  As per a statement issued by the UKGC, there is no concrete and definite evidence that shows that gambling activities at UK betting sites have increased during lockdowns.  On the other hand, the document published does reflect a rise in people’s overall financial matters and mental wellbeing.

The document highlights many important factors about the lockdown gambling situation in the UK.  Some key facts include the following:

  1.  There was a slight increase in online gambling, but this is not significant enough to worry about for the UK and the UKGC. If we look at the figures month on month, there is a 3% increase  in casino live accounts usage, and a 4% increase  in bets.  The GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) percentage decreased by a whopping 13% in total.  This is due to the real life events picking up after lockdowns.
  2. Slots has been a fan favourite during the lockdown period, with the overall slot GGY increasing to a whopping 177 Million, hence recording a 3% increase.  Bets have also increased by 4% to a record 5.2 Billion, and the number of active accounts seem to have also seen an increase, with a jump for 1% to 2.8 Million.  According to the UKGC, this is the figure to look out for, as it is the highest since the pandemic landed upon us all.
  3. Gambling time has also increased slightly and recorded higher length of gambling sessions.  The slots sessions that top the 1hr have seen a jump of 3% to 2.2 Million. Gaming sessions have also seen a small rise with the average session lasting a 1 minute to 22 minutes longer than the traditional gaming sessions.

The UKGC has also suggested that operators and governments alike should take a closer look at not just the gambling data.  Other areas to focus on should include:

  1. We are not very much used to lockdowns.  Some people have been without a job and an income for a long period of time, and with more lockdowns to follow, people might worry more due to the increase in financial strain that everyone across the globe is feeling.
  2. People staying indoors might have less time for work, and more time to play.  All the regulators and online casinos with sports betting outlets should make sure that Uk betting sites are looking after their players, Many players might wager more money whilst indoors, and this also could pose mental and financial strains, not to mention a decline in the overall economy.
  3. First Time gamblers are also ones to follow. Pattern needs to be looked into, if someone is gambling for the first time, they might act more freely due to the looming pandemic and the despair that it has brought to the world.

As a devoted regulator, the UKGC will continue to monitor online brands to esure that the player and the person is placed at the centre of all our thought. They continue to monitor risk via the following

  • Collecting data related to gambing and highlighting problematic gambing patterns and behaviours.
  • Guiding operators on their operational needs and analysing impact on decisions taken.
  • Being of a support system to land based casinos and betting hubs, as they morph into a post corona world.