The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), the regulatory body overseeing the UK gambling sector, has published data from between March to November 2020 on the effects that COVID-19 lockdowns have had on gambling activity.
Importantly, the reports showed that “there has not been a significant or sustained increase in gambling activity since the COVID-19 pandemic began”.
In a sample of more than 3,000 adults surveyed by the UKGC, 60% said their gambling spending was unaffected by the coronavirus lockdowns. From those surveyed, 27% reported a decrease in betting activity. Meanwhile, just 13% said their gambling activity increased.
Online gambling activity increased by 3% and the average session length for slot gamblers increased by one minute to 22 minutes. Approximately 8% of all gambling sessions lasted more than one hour.
Interestingly, gross gambling yield (GGY) fell by 13%. to £177 million
Also in the UKGC data, women under the age of 35 were the most likely to have taken up betting since the first lockdown in March. Meanwhile, men under the age of 35 were more likely to have increased the amounts they spend on gambling during the lockdown
The UKGC’s Chief Executive Neil McArthur stated:
“The gambling industry and daily life as a whole continues to be impacted by the pandemic and whilst there is some light and hope ahead with the vaccine, I want to ensure operators are clear of our expectations,”