Insights Gambling Commission publishes operator data to December 2021 on impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour

The Gambling Commission has published further data showing how gambling behaviour is reacting to the easing of lockdown measures in Great Britain. The operator data reflects the period between March 2020 and December 2021, inclusive, and covers online and in-person gambling with data from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets.

The Commission advises caution when making any year-on-year comparisons between some months in 2020 and months in 2021, due to the differing operating circumstances of 2020 and 2021.

This most recent update contains operator data to December 2021 and encompasses previously published data which has now been corrected. The Commission says that it will now be publishing this data on a quarterly basis, and as a result this analysis makes a quarter-on-quarter comparison.

The latest operator data shows:

  • online total GGY was just below £421 million in December, taking Q3 (October to December) GGY to £1.2 billion, a decrease of 6% from Q2 (July to September); the overall number of total bets/spins increased 4% from Q2 to Q3, while the number of active accounts stayed steady;
  • slots GGY increased 1% to £568 million between Q2 and Q3; the number of spins increased 3% to 18.2 billion, while the number of active players increased 5% to 9.8 million;
  • the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 8% (to over 8.1 million) between Q2 and Q3; the average session length lasted 19 minutes, with approximately 7% of all sessions lasting more than one hour; and
  • LBO GGY decreased 1% to £533 million between Q2 and Q3, while the number of total bets and spins increased to 3.3 billion.

The Commission says that it recognises that the country is now entering a different phase as we adjust to life after a series of restrictions. The Commission says that it continues to expect extra vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the wider economic environment. Many people will still feel vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period, further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances or readjusting budgets and time as life returns to normal with a wider set of finance drivers.

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, as consumers adjust back to a new normal and be very cautious when seeking to cross-sell products;
  • 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 news release in full, click here.