Overall gambling participation down during lockdown says UKGC

The UK Gambling Commission has revealed that overall participation in gambling activities had declined during the first full month of the national lockdown, but had ‘not fallen as drastically as anticipated at the beginning of the crisis’.

The data for April was collected from the UK’s biggest operators combined with YouGov‘s ongoing ‘COVID-19 tracker’ measuring public trends and habits during the lockdown, covering a representative sample of circa 2,000 adults in Great Britain.

It was revealed that 75 per cent of active players had ‘no increase in time or money spent gambling’, which is inclusive of National Lottery products, while operator data revealed a five per cent decrease in ‘overall activity’ between March and April.

The lockdown, according to the UKGC, has not attracted new players – with only 0.2 per cent of adults admitting that they had taken up gambling during the lockdown.

However, data has shown that UK gambling consumers appear to be engaging in new products – a figure which has increased to 42 per cent during April. This has largely been driven by an increase in weekly draw participation, with one in five revealing they had taken part during the last four weeks.

The UKGC explained that data is consistent with the first set of findings – “Overall participation has decreased but some engaged players are spending more time and money gambling on certain products”.

Operator data revealed that the number of poker players had increased by 53 per cent since March, while those participating in other gaming activities – including online casinos – grew by five per cent.

According to the UKGC, ‘this shift is against the backdrop of relatively stable advertising awareness, where the YouGov research shows that 34 per cent of adults recalled seeing marketing for online bingo, casino or slots games in the last four weeks’.

Closing its statement, the UKGC said that it will continue to track and monitor risks by collecting the data to protect national consumers.