The UK Gambling Commission has published data showing the impact of Covid-19 lockdown-easing on online gambling behaviour in July 2020.
According to the latest figures from the Gambling Commission tracking customer activity during the coronavirus pandemic, online gambling revenue in Great Britain fell across all verticals while retail and land-based showed signs of recovery in July.
The data reflects March, April, May, June and July and covers both online and in-person gambling.
The figures show that in July there was a small month-on-month decline in the amount customers spent on online gambling. However, the amount spent remained higher than pre-lockdown levels driven by the pent-up demand for sports betting on popular events.
July’s figures included the first full month contribution from retail betting shops since February and during this period, retail revenue rose significantly.
The Gambling Commission said that it was difficult to make direct comparisons with previous monthly and yearly figures as gambling businesses were not in operation for a full month in March or June. This is because most operators reopened their betting shops in phases while also dealing with changes to opening hours and implementing social distancing measures.
Each vertical’s performance
Based on data from the largest operators, which the Commission said accounted for 85% of the market, over the counter gross gaming yield (GGY) amounted to £62.5m. While revenue from self-service betting terminals amounted to £23.2m, while machine yield came in at £86.1m in July.
During this period, bettors placed 57.1m over the counter bets and 7.2m via self-service terminals. In addition to this, 7.8m sessions were played on machines and of these sessions, 247,394 lasted longer than an hour.
Looking at online gambling, according to data from operators that represented 80% of the UK market, GGY for online betting dropped by 3.8% month-on-month to £209.3m. However, the number of wagers placed in July was up 4.6% to 267.2m.
In terms of revenue, the second-largest vertical in July was online slots, however, GGY dropped 2.2% month-on-month to £162.9m. Online slot revenue was also down 11.6% on the £184.3m generated in May, however, player numbers increased to 2.5m.
Revenue from other online casino games dropped 3.6% to £66m and player numbers declined to 1.8m, the lowest the figure has been since the regulator started tracking online activity during the lockdown.
Poker revenue was down 22.7% to £9m in July, following a spike in activity during the coronavirus lockdown. Virtual sports and esports betting also saw a decline in revenue in July, with virtual sports betting revenue down 16.7% to £8m and esports betting down 25.4% to £2.6m. Revenue from other online gambling dropped 23.2% to £1.4m.
More people gambled under lockdown
The UK regulatory body also published the results from several surveys carried out by the market researcher Populus before, during and after the coronavirus lockdown period in the UK.
According to the survey, Populus estimates that 2.7% of non-gamblers, which represents 58% of the population, began gambling online during the lockdown period. However, the majority of these players stopped gambling as lockdown restrictions were eased.
The survey also found that of the 42% of the population that class themselves as gamblers, only 2% that played in-person moved to online gambling under lockdown. Meanwhile, spending remained unchanged or dropped under lockdown. Populus found that 13% of respondents said they spent more during this period, while 59% did not change the amount they gambled, and 24% spent less money.