February 25, 2021 3 min read


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UK Gambling Activities Decreased in 2020, Says Report by GC

In 2020, gambling activities in the UK decreased significantly, according to a new report released by the Gambling Commission. Overall, gambling activities fell by 42% and significant decrease was observed in the retail sector. In contrast, online gambling activities increased by 3%.

GC Reveals a New Report on Gambling Activities for 2020

According to a new report released by the Gambling Commission, participation in gambling activities in 2020 decreased significantly. The data, which was released on Wednesday, outlined that gambling activities until the end of December 2020 fell by 42%. When compared to 2019, the result represented a decrease of 5.2%. Although a significant drop was observed in the retail sector, the GC acknowledged that an increase was seen in online gambling activities.

The GC based that conclusion on data, collected quarterly by Yonder Consulting via telephone surveys. The surveys involved 4,007 adults, age 16+, and were conducted via telephone in March, June, September, and December 2020. According to the GC, approximately one-quarter of the data was collected before the national restrictions. In contrast, the other three-quarters of data represents results collected during periods with COVID-related restrictions in 2020.

The Commission acknowledged that based on the data, 2020 “has been a unique year”. Furthermore, it added that the lockdown rules brought significant changes to consumer behavior. GC did not miss mentioning that the events in 2020 had a major impact on the gambling industry.

Overall Gambling Activities Decreased Last Year

Further breakdown shows that both males and females participated less in gambling activities in 2020. Additionally, a decrease in gambling activities was observed throughout all age groups.

A sharp decrease in gambling participation was observed in the age group 16-24 years old. The result of that group fell by more than 9 points, reaching 31.2%. Furthermore, the 25-34 age group marked a similar result dropping to 39%, which marked a 9.7 point decrease when compared to 2019.

Considering the COVID-related restrictions and closures, a significant decrease was observed in in-person retail gambling. According to the data, for the year until December 2020, 26% of the adults gambled in-person. Comparing this result to 2019, we observe a staggering decrease of 9%.

While Online Gambling Increased, Problem Gambling Decreased in 2020

Focusing on online gambling, the results revealed an increase of approximately 3% when comparing 2020 to 2019. Overall, 23.6% of the adults gambled during the year up to December 2020. According to the GC, this is a significant increase, considering that this number halted at 21.1% in 2019. Furthermore, when compared to the 2016 results, a significant increase of 6% was observed.

In contrast to the increased online gambling activities, the problem gambling percentage fell in 2020. In the year to 2019, the problem gambling rate was 0.6%, while in 2020, it decreased to 0.3%. However, the GC noted that this was “not a statistically significant decrease“.

On the other hand, the rate of low-risk gambling until December 2020 fell significantly to 2.0%. In comparison, the low-risk rate in 2019 was 2.7%. Furthermore, a decrease of 0.3% was observed in the moderate risk gambling rate which in the year until December 2020 halted at 0.9%.


Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.

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