Insights Gambling Commission publishes further data showing the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on gambling behaviour

The data reflects the two months of full lockdown in April and May and was collected from the largest online operators and the YouGov Covid-19 tracker. It builds on data published by the Commission on 12 May 2020 and further data published by the Commission on 12 June 2020, with the Commission having issued updated guidance to operators in May that included the need for improved affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers.

The latest data is consistent with the first two sets and also highlights an increase in real-event betting and sports betting, partly due to the return, in May, of top-flight football through the German Bundesliga. The data shows that overall participation has decreased, but some engaged players are spending more time and money gambling on certain products. Overall average spend per active customer increased by 17% in May, compared to April.

A key component of the guidance issued to operators in May was the instruction to prevent reverse withdrawal options from June onwards. The data gathered throughout May showed significant usage of operator reverse withdrawal functions, suggesting that the Commission’s updated guidance was both appropriate and timely, and will ensure consumers are better protected from harm during the lockdown period.

Having assessed the implications, the Commission says that it will now continue to track and assess risk by:

  • assessing the impact of the strengthened guidance issued to operators;
  • collecting and publishing the data being gathered;
  • working with the industry as land-based premises continue to open; and
  • where evidence identifies additional risks faced by consumers, taking further action to protect consumers.

The data was taken from YouGov’s Covid-19 tracker, which covers a representative sample of circa 2,000 adults in Great Britain each week, and from submissions of the biggest operators, covering approximately 80% of the entire online gambling market. To read the Commission’s press release in full and for a link to the full report on Covid-19 related data, click here.