Data shows the impact of Covid-19 on gambling behaviour in November 2020

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The Gambling Commission has published further data showing how the renewed tightening of Covid-19 lockdown measures has impacted gambling behaviour in Great Britain.

The consumer research data continues to show that across the population as a whole, there is no evidence of a significant or sustained increase in gambling activity in the Covid-19 period. However, the research highlights links between the impacts of the pandemic on people’s financial and mental wellbeing, and increased gambling.

The latest operator data for November shows:

Activity in the online market grew, with a month-on-month increase of 3% in active accounts and 4% in bets, while gross gambling yield (GGY), decreased by 13% as a result of real event betting margins normalising after their high levels during October
Slots GGY increased by 3% to nearly £177m. The number of bets also increased (4% to over 5.2bn) along with the number of active accounts (up 1% to 2.8m), a figure which is the highest from within the Covid-19 pandemic period
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 3% (to 2.2m) in October to November; 1% higher than the increase in overall sessions. The average session length increased by 1 minute to 22 minutes with around 8% of all sessions lasting in excess of 1 hour
Against the background of this data and our experience of the pandemic period so far extra operator vigilance is needed during this new national lockdown because:

Most people will be spending more time at home and many people are likely to be feeling more isolated and vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period, the new restrictions and further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances.
We know that some consumers, such as highly engaged gamblers who play a range of products, are likely to spend more time and money gambling and the fact that sport will continue during this lockdown will mean there are more opportunities for betting customers to gamble.
We know that some people may gamble for the first time.
We recently wrote to operators to remind them of the guidance we initially issued in May to online operators and their responsibilities during this challenging period for the country.

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The Commission continues 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 adjust to changing restrictions Where evidence identifies additional risks faced by consumers, taking further action to protect consumers.

Market overview for November 2020 – operator data

Online Gambling

GGY decreased by 13% (to £471.5m) between October and November, driven by a decrease in real event betting GGY as betting margins normalised after their high levels during October.
The overall number of total bets/spins increased by 4% from October, while the number of active accounts increased by 3%.

We will continue to collect and monitor the data to inform our views of risk, and if these changes appear to be more than short-term fluctuations, and affecting wider groups of consumers, we will not hesitate to take further action.

Online real event betting

Online real event betting GGY decreased by 28% between October and November to £209m, as margins normalised after high levels in October. Real event betting continues to be the largest vertical by GGY, with increases seen in the number of bets (up by 4%) and the number of active accounts (up by 4%).

Online slots

Slots GGY increased by 3% to nearly £177m. The number of bets also increased (4% to over 5.2bn) along with the number of active accounts (up 1% to 2.8m), a figure which is the highest from within the Covid-19 pandemic period.

The average loss-per-player continues to remain meaningfully higher than any other online gambling product (nearly £63 for slots versus £43 for real event betting and £35 for casino).

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The total number of online slots sessions increased 2% to just over 27.5m, with the average number of spins per session increasing slightly since October.

Safer gambling indicators

The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 3% (to 2.2m) in October to November; 1% higher than the increase in overall sessions. The average session length increased by 1 minute to 22 minutes with around 8% of all sessions lasting in excess of 1 hour.

Between October and November, the number of customer interactions undertaken rose by 3% (to just over 1m) of which the majority were automated in nature

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