UK Government survey highlights severe COVID-19 impact on gambling companies

By Iqbal Johal

A UK government survey found the majority of gambling companies have seen revenue fall by at least 50% year-on-year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Coronavirus Business Survey (DCMS) conducted by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, surveyed around 4,000 business from a range of industries, between 23 April and 22 May.

The purpose was to find out the impact of the coronavirus outbreak from mid-March. Gambling companies were among the business who took part, thought to be mainly operators.

Since the coronavirus forced a lockdown in the UK on 23 March, year-on-year revenue fell by 100% for 30 gambling businesses who took part, with 14 seeing revenue cut by between 50% and 99%.

Eight said revenue was down between 1% and 49%, while two businesses saw revenue increase or remain the same.

The majority of operators have relied on the government’s furlough scheme, with 32 furloughing between 75% and 100% of their employees, three between 50% and 74%, one furloughing between 1% and 24%, while 20 operators haven’t used the scheme.

20 gambling businesses believe their ability to trade as a viable entity is under threat from the time of taking the survey until mid-July, with 20 disagreeing there was a threat.

After taking into account mitigating actions in response to the pandemic, nine gambling companies think they can continue to exist as a viable entity under the current climate, for between one and three months, with 40 believing they can continue trading for between three to six months, or more than six months.

However, two operators said they are no longer trading.

Since the survey was conducted, betting shops in England reopened from 15 June, while the Premier League returned on 17 June, both coming as a boost for the UK gambling industry.

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