The UKGC has revealed additional information regarding the impact of the coronavirus and the effects that the lockdown measures created towards customer behaviours with regards to gambling.
The United Kingdom Gambling Commission revealed the data collected showing operators activities, run between the months of March 2020 and May 2021. The data covers both online operator data and retail gambling data. The regulatory body is aware that brick and mortar-based operations have only just recently been given the green light to open their doors back up again, after being told sometime during December 2020 that they must close temporarily. The UKGC also advised that making a year-to-year comparison between 2020 and 2021 would yield unfair results due to the extreme differences in operating circumstances during the two-year period.
The latest data for online operators in May 2021 suggests that there was an evident decline in the activity of the online custom for the month. The latest data reports that the GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) fell by 5%, while the total number of accounts that are active shrank by 14%. There was almost no difference in the total number of bets, which remained at a similar level. The GGY relating to slots shot up to £211 million, beginning in April until May, and the spin figures revealed that there was a marginal rise of 2% in the total number of spins. Active player numbers declined by a 5% figure.
Additionally, the UKGC regulatory body declared that there was a 1% decrease in slot visits that were more than one hour in duration, however, interestingly, the duration of the average sitting rocketed by 20.7%. Over 8% of the total number of sessions lasted for over one hour, according to the data.
Survey Shows That Players Spent More Time on Gambling Throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic…. and More Money!
Players were asked via a watchdog to take part in some qualitative research to try to establish behavioural patterns of players during the pandemic period. The results of the survey revealed that a large portion of the participants did not change their habits from their usual usage of online gambling products. There were, however, a noticeable percentage of the participants who completed the survey, had noticed an increase in time spent on online gambling activities compared to before the pandemic. Another significant find was that those spending more time gambling were also trying new products for the first time.
The UKGC stated that relaxing the lockdown protocol has entered the industry into a new period. The regulatory body hopes, and expects, that the gambling operators will still be practicing responsible gambling and maybe even more so than before as the effects of this pandemic period may have had some negative impacts on customers mentally, which could leave them insecure, vulnerable and at-risk both personally and financially. It is expected that some people will have coped better than others, so it is the responsibility of the operators to be vigilant in their operations, especially at this moment in time.
Even considering that things are starting to get back to how we used to know it, people’s routines and habits have possibly changed, and will not necessarily revert back to pre-pandemic. The more avid fan of gambling was likely to have had a busier time gambling during the pandemic period than those who are more mellow. It is probable that they were spending more money and time gambling online during the lockdown, and that is something that should also be taken into consideration.
The Gambling Commission declared that gambling operations within the UK are to continue following the amplified guides that were issued during the initial Covid-19 lockdown period. Operators should continue to monitor data related to customer behaviour, the games being played and the amount that the customers are spending.