Insights Gambling Commission publishes June 2021 data showing the impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour using operator data

The Gambling Commission has published further data showing how online gambling behaviour is reacting to the easing of lockdown measures in Great Britain.

The operator data from June 2021 reflects the period between March 2020 and June 2021, inclusive, and covers both online and, where relevant, some offline gambling operator data, noting that land-based premises have only recently been able to open since closing in December 2020. The latest online operator data for June 2021 shows:

  • overall activity in the online market slowed down in June, with gross gambling yield (GGY) and total bets both decreasing 7% and 10% respectively; active players did increase 4%, likely to be a result of occasional players’ interest in the Euro 2020 tournament;
  • slots GGY decreased 14% to £181m during the period from May to June; the number of spins decreased 10% while active players increased 1%; and
  • the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 9% (to just above 2.3 million); the average session length decreased to 19.3 minutes, with nearly 8% of all sessions lasting more than one hour.

The Commission says that it recognises that the country is now entering a different phase as we continue to ease out of lockdown. It also says that it continues to expect extra vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the circumstances. Many people will still feel vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period and further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances.

The Commission says that it is likely that some have picked up new gambling routines and habits during lockdown that may be hard to change as things return to normal, even as normal spending on other things resumes. This could be challenging for some and important for operators to identify through their monitoring.

Some consumers, such as highly engaged gamblers who play a range of products, are likely to spend more time and money gambling and with high level sporting events taking place over the summer there are more opportunities for betting customers to gamble.

The Commission expects operators to:

  • continue to follow the strengthened guidance issued during the first lockdown, taking close interest in data that shows consumers expanding their portfolio of games and spending more time or money than before;
  • interact directly where triggers are reached, in addition to their more generic email engagement;
  • avoid any temptation to exploit the current situation for marketing purposes, in particular as lockdown eases and be very cautious when seeking to cross-sell products; and
  • take particular care when on-boarding new customers and making decisions over affordability checks which reflect the environment we are in.

To read the Commission’s press release in full and for access to the operator data, click here.