Published: December 20, 2020

Online Market on the Rise Amid Covid-19 Restrictions, the UK Gambling Commission Reports

 Real Event Betting Prompts the Rise of the Online Industry

Data from the UK Gambling Commission for the period between March and October shows that the online market has experienced significant growth. The information is based on figures from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets and demonstrates how the Covid-19 restrictions have influenced betting trends in Britain.

The online market posted a 29% month-on-month increase in gross gambling yield (GGY) and a 7% growth in active accounts in October. The positive trend was boosted by real event betting, which experienced a 53% growth in GGY. Real event betting growth was helped predominantly by operator margins, which on the other hand was boosted by a number of sporting results during October, especially from the Premier League, such as Aston Villa 7 – 2 Liverpool and Manchester United 1 – 6 Tottenham. Other factors for the GGY growth were the 12% rise in the number of bets and the 7% increase in the number of active players.

A few weeks ago, the Commission issued its bi-annual gambling report, which showed that the online sector accounted for 39.9% of the total £14.2 billion generated by the industry during the period of April 2019 to March 2020.

Slots Revenue Rises Above Average Covid-19 Levels

Gambling behaviors have continued to change within the context of the current dynamic situation and restrictions. Recently, the Gambling Commission reached out to operators with a reminder about the guidelines it issued for remote operators during the Covid-19 outbreak.

The regulatory body emphasized the need for in-depth affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals, and limits on bonus offers. Premises-based operators were also reminded about the need to comply with the Commission’s guidance on customer interaction and the requirements aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.

Some of the measures that the Commission is taking to track Covid-19 related risk are to follow up on the impact of the guidance issued to operators, to assemble and disseminate the collected data and provide support to the industry as land-based premises begin to open. It is also in charge of taking actions in case additional risk for consumers is being identified.

Slots GGY climbed by 10% to £172.5 million, surpassing the Covid pandemic average. The number of bets was up 8% to almost 5.1 billion and the number of active accounts rose by 8% to almost 2.8 million, reaching a peak since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK Gambling Commission licenses and regulates the people and businesses that provide gambling in Great Britain including the National Lottery. Recently, the conservative MP Iain Smith issued a publication calling for the Government to replace the Commission with an independent regulatory body that supervises the industry. Smith said urgent actions were needed in the context of the review of the 2005 Gambling Act, which envisages strengthening the Commission’s power, among other things.

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