DCMS survey highlights the impact of COVID-19 on the gambling sector

A new survey from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport has highlighted the impact of the coronavirus on gambling businesses.

A new survey carried out by the UK government has revealed that gambling businesses are not entirely sure if they can withstand the disruption that has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The DCMS Survey

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport were responsible for conducting the Coronavirus Impact Business Survey, which saw companies from a wide range of industries, including businesses in the gambling sector, polled.

The size and scale of the gambling businesses that responded was not revealed, however, the impact on revenue suggests that these were mainly land-based gambling operators.

Survey findings

Of the gambling businesses that took part in the survey, 30 of them said they had seen revenue decline by 100% year-on-year since the UK entered lockdown on 23 March. In addition to this, 14 companies said revenue fell between 50% and 99%, while eight companies said revenue dropped between 1% and 49%.

However, in stark contract to those businesses that reported a drop in revenue, just two business reported an increase in year-on-year revenue since the UK entered lockdown.

Respondents appear to have been reliant on government support during the pandemic.

According to the survey findings, 32 gambling companies said they had furloughed between 75% and 100% of their staff under the lockdown. Three companies had furloughed between 50% and 74% of its staff, while 20 gambling businesses did not sign up for the furlough scheme.

However, 37 gambling companies said they had not taken any other mitigating actions. It is not clear if this means that businesses used the furlough scheme but no other cost reduction measures. Of the respondents, 19 said they had taken actions to protect their businesses.

After taking mitigating actions, most of the gambling companies surveyed said they would be able to continue trading for between three to six months, or more than six months. However, nine operators said they would only be able to continue trading for up to three months under the current conditions in the country. An additional five companies were unsure how long they could remain open. Two of the operators said they had already stopped trading.

Regarding the overall impact of the pandemic, gambling companies were divided on the future of their business operation. Companies were asked if their ability to trade as available business was under threat, 20 companies said yes, 20 said no and six were unsure.

This news comes as retail betting shops in England and Ireland were given the ho ahead to reopen this week.

Betting shops reopen

The UK government have eased their lockdown restrictions, and on Monday 15 June, non-essential retail businesses were given the green light to reopen. However, for the time being in the UK, this only applies to England as Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have yet to ease their lockdown restrictions.

Flutter Entertainment reopened all of its retail Paddy Power betting shops across England and 150 locations in the Republic of Ireland. GVC Holdings also reopened 2,445 of its Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops in England.

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