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UK Online Gambling Slows Following Easing of Restrictions

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published data showing how the easing of coronavirus related restrictions has affected online gambling behaviour.

The operator data, which deals with the period between March 2020 and June 2021, includes both online and offline gambling activity, but it should be noted that land-based establishments were forced to close for much of that time. Furthermore, the different circumstances mean that year-on-year comparisons do not hold much value.

However, the latest data shows that overall online activity slowed in June, and the gross gambling yield (GGY) and total bets both fell by 7% and 10%, respectively. However, active players increased by 4%, most likely due to betting activity on Euro 2020.

The GGY for slots fell by 14% to £181 million during the period from May to June. The number of spins fell by 10%, but active players increased by 1%. There was also a fall in the number of online slots sessions that lasted more than an hour. It fell by 9% to just over 2.3 million. The average session length decreased to 19.3 minutes, and just 8% of all sessions lasted more than an hour.

In its report, the UKGC said that it believes people will have picked up new gambling habits during the lockdown that they may find hard to change, and as such, they expect extra vigilance from operators.

In particular, they want operators to continue to follow the strengthened guidance that was issued during the first lockdown and pay attention to data that suggests players have increased the amount of time or money spent playing. The Commission also expects operators to interact directly with players when triggers are reached, in addition to sending generic emails. The authority also warned operators against exploiting the current situation for marketing purposes and to take particular care over affordability checks.

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