Gambling Commission data reveals impact of COVID-19 on gambling behaviour

By Peter Lynch

The Gambling Commission has published new data showing how the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted gambling behaviour in Great Britain.

The data reflects the period between March and November 2020, covering both online gambling and consumer research.

The latest data for November shows growth in online market activity, with a month-on-month increase of 3% in active accounts and 4% in bets. Gross gambling yield (GGY) meanwhile decreased by 13%.

Slots GGY rose by 3% to almost £177m, with the number of bets and the number of active accounts increasing by 4% and 1% respectively. The number of bets rose to over 5.2bn, while the number of active accounts rose to 2.8m, the highest from within the pandemic period.

The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than one hour also increased by 3% to 2.2m in October to November, with the average session length increasing by one minute to 22 minutes.

“The consumer research data continues to show that across the population as a whole, there is no evidence of a significant or sustained increase in gambling activity in the Covid-19 period,” a statement from the Gambling Commission read. “However, the research highlights links between the impacts of the pandemic on people’s financial and mental wellbeing, and increased gambling.”

The Commission noted that extra operator vigilance is needed during the latest national lockdown, with the return of sport highlighted as one area where problem gambling could occur.

People spending more time at home and in isolation were also singled out as being particularly vulnerable, as well as those who have uncertainties about their personal or financial circumstances due to the new restrictions.


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