Recent data from the UK Gambling Commission (GC) shows a significant decline in gambling activity in January and February compared to 2020.
Gambling Commission Reveals Dip in Gambling Activity
The UK Gambling Commission (GC) has released statistics detailing changes in gambling activity for January and February 2021. In comparison to December 2020, the data indicates a significant decrease in overall gambling activity.
The GC has discovered that gross gambling yield (GGY) fell to £495.4 million in February, down 19% from December of last year. The number of active accounts has decreased by 4% to around 10.2 million, while total wagers have declined by 6% to 6.2 billion.
The real-event betting yield has also dropped significantly, falling to £234.5 million in February, down 16% from December 2020. In January and February, virtual event betting and esports betting totaled £6.7 million and £1.6 million, respectively.
Slot Machine Figures Remain Relatively Stable
Slot machines have also been affected but to a lesser extent. Slot GGY fell to about £176.9 million at the start of the year, down 1% from December. The total number of spins decreased by 6% to 5.50 billion. The number of active accounts, on the other hand, has held steady at 3.0 million.
From December to February, the number of online slots sessions lasting more than an hour increased by 4%. The number of sessions peaked in January at 2.6 million, then fell by 1% in February. The average session duration was 21.5 minutes, according to the data gathered by the GC. Around 9% of sessions, or approximately 2.5 million, lasted more than an hour.
Decreased Performance Linked to Stricter Lockdown Measures
The overall decline in profitability can be traced back to the ongoing lockdown measures in the UK. After the holiday season, the number of COVID-19 cases in the country unexpectedly increased, leading the UK government to tighten safety measures once more. Unfortunately, this rendered the land-based sector entirely unusable, resulting in lower-than-expected income.
It is important to mention that the Isle of Man has been lauded for its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the crown dependency is enjoying a surge in interest from international gaming operators.
The UK expects to reopen betting shops on April 12th, followed by casinos on May 17th, if there are no unexpected increases in infectivity.
The Commission also stated that it has written to operators requesting increased caution as lockdowns may put many customers at risk.