October 24, 2020

Online Gambling Industry Thriving During Covid 19

While many industries have struggled during the Pandemic, the online Gambling Industry is not one of them.

With many prevented from physical gambling, hundreds of independent casino sites and apps have thrived and the choice for players has never been so wide.

It’s certainly profitable for operators.  According to the Gambling Commission, data provided by operators shows a Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) increase of 115% for online real event betting between May and June (rising to £217.5m), with GGY higher during June than at ‘average’ pre-lockdown levels.

It isn’t only casinos that have benefitted from the rise in online gambling over the pandemic – data shows huge increases in UK online real event betting between May and June.

It’s a similar story in the US, while bricks and mortar gambling revenues in the US were hit by lockdowns in hubs like Atlantic City and Las Vegas, online gaming soared with a 254% increase in Q2, according to statistics released by the American Gaming Association (AGA).

Across the World, the gambling industry employs people across all spectrums of the population, and contributes significant tax revenue, so in some respects the increases are positive – but what about the risk for gamblers with a problem who may be at home and isolated?

There is some protection in the UK via the voluntary Gamstop system, which allows players to sign up and self-restrict their access to online casinos.  They will then be unable to access sites that are licensed in the UK, allowing them to regain control.

While it is still possible to access web-based casinos not on Gamstop, these non Gamstop casinos and non Gamstop betting sites are not licensed in the UK.

Additionally the Gambling Commission issued updated guidance to operators in May.  This included  the need for improved affordability checks, the prevention of reverse withdrawals and restrictions on bonus offers.  This seemed to work, with data finding  the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 5% in the month to June (from 2,085,023 to 1,987,121) and average session length decreasing by 1m in this time.

The Gambling Industry is a large employer in the UK – we hope the growth in online gaming, which will create new jobs, won’t come at the cost of existing ones.