UK online gambling trends normalise following holiday’s peak uptake

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published its latest ‘market statistics report‘, as it continues to monitor gambling trends under lockdown.

The Commission has published its market statistics since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, tracking the UK’s gambling activity from March 2020 onwards.

Publishing January and February statistics, the UKGC cites a continued decline in online gambling participation as the market’s gross gambling yield (GGY) decreased by 19% to just over £495 million between December and February.

Total online gambling wagers (bets/spins) decreased by 6% to £6.2 billion from December to February, as the number of active accounts recorded decreased by 4% to 10 million – an expected trend following a busy Christmas period. 

A breakdown of online sports betting saw GGY decrease by 12% between December to January, followed by a further 16% decline from January to February below GGY £235 million as operator activity normalised.

Further metrics saw sports betting track a 2% month-on-month decline from December to February, as UK bookmakers registered 4.7 million active accounts.

Regarded as the highest player risk vertical, online slots recorded a 1% GGY decline to £177 million, as total slot wagers declined by 7% to below £5 billion.

Safer gambling indicators saw the number of online sessions lasting longer than an hour decline by 1% to 2.5 million between December and February – having followed a January peak of 2.6 million. The average playing session remained steady at 21.5 minutes, with around 9% of all sessions lasting in excess of one hour during February.

Reflecting previous trends, the number of customer interactions peaked during January but then fell by 13% during February, with the majority remaining automated in nature.

The number of direct interactions undertaken by operators had fallen by 5% in this time, after peaking in January.

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