How COVID-19 has impacted LBOs

The Gambling Commission has published further data showing how the Covid-19 period has impacted gambling behaviour in Great Britain.

Covid and Licensed Betting Operators

The data reflects the period between March and August and covers both online and in-person gambling, from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets and also includes consumer research.

The figures for August shows demonstrate that:

  • The online market contracted slightly, with the number of bets down 2%, of which real event betting decreased 12%, and the number of active customers decreased 7%. Gross gambling yield (GGY) decreased 12%. These figures may be attributable to the break in English Premier League football, the holiday season and the loosening of restrictions allowing for more discretionary spending options.
  • The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 7% with the average session length remaining steady at 21 minutes.
  • The number of customer interactions undertaken has risen 11%; 4% of those interactions reported were direct contact from staff (down from 5% in July).
  • High street betting – GGY has remained steady, while total bets and spins decreased both by 2% since July.

It is clear that gambling behaviours will continue to evolve, in all sectors, as the country responds to challenges posed by Covid-19. The Commission has also stated that these latest figures further underline the importance of its updated guidance to operators at this time, which included guidance to online operators in May – setting out the need for improved affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers. This was reinforced for land-based premises in June when they were allowed to reopen.

The Commission will continue to track Covid-19 related 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.

Data for Licensed Betting Operators