Consistent data published regarding impact of COVID-19 on UK gambling behaviour

The Gambling Commission has today (12 June 2020) published further data showing the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on gambling behaviour. Key findings are that:

  • Overall, fewer consumers are gambling
  • Some people, who are gambling already, are trying new products
  • Overall gamblers claim to be playing products at the same rate or less, but a majority of those who have participated in 3 or more gambling activities in the last four weeks (i.e. what the Commission describes as “engaged players”) claim to be spending more time or money on one or more activities
  • There is evidence of an increase in the number of sessions over an hour

This follows on from – and is consistent with – research findings published by the Commission a month ago (on 12 May 2020) under the heading “Covid-19 and its impact on gambling – what we know so far” (about which we previously reported here).

That resulted in the Commission publishing additional formal customer interaction guidance for UK licensed remote operators during the COVID-19 outbreak (also reported by us here, where we draw particular attention of operators to Update item numbered 2 at the foot of that Clifton Davies website posting, setting out the Commission’s subsequent clarification – by way of a series of FAQs – in relation to certain parts of that guidance).

Today’s posting by the Commission reads as follows:

The data reflects the first full month of lockdown in April 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, after which the Commission issued updated guidance to operators which included the need for improved affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers.

This latest set of data is consistent with the first set of data. Overall participation[1] has decreased but some engaged players are spending more time and money gambling on certain products. This is why the Commission strengthened guidance for operators to ensure people are more protected from harm.

Having assessed the implications, the Commission 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
  • supporting the industry as land-based premises begin to open
  • where evidence identifies additional risks faced by consumers, taking further action to protect consumers.

The data was taken from YouGov’s Covid-19 tracker[2], 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.[3]

The full report on Covid-19-related data is available on the Gambling Commission’s website.

Notes to editors

  1. Participation rate taken from operator data on active player accounts, i.e. players who have placed one or more bet or spin during the month.
  2. YouGov’s Covid-19 tracker, 16-17 April to 6-7 May. Based on responses from 8,713 adults in Great Britain, aged 18+
  3. These figures may contain some duplication of customer numbers where it is not possible to identify unique customers.

You can also download below the Gambling Commission’s full updated report on Covid-19-related data entitled “Covid 19 and its impact on gambling – what we know so far [updated June 2020]”