HomeInsightsGambling Commission publishes operator data to March 2022 showing how gambling behaviour is reacting to easing of COVID-19 lockdown measures

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The operator data reflects the period between March 2020 and March 2022 inclusive, and covers online and in-person gambling with data from Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets.

The Commission advises caution when making any year-on-year comparisons between some months during the period of this data collection, due to differing operating circumstances between 2020 and 2022. Comparison should also not be made with the industry statistics dataset, as the market impact data may include free bets and bonuses.

The update contains operator data to March 2022. The Commission will be publishing this data on a quarterly basis, and as a result, this analysis makes a quarter-on-quarter comparison. This update refers to quarters in the financial year 2021-2022.

The latest operator data shows:

  • online total GGY in Q4 (January to March) was £1.2 billion, a decrease of 1% from Q3 (October to December); the overall number of total bets/spins decreased 2% from Q3 to Q4, the average monthly active accounts increased 5%;
  • slots GGY decreased 5% to nearly £541 million between Q3 and Q4; the number of spins decreased 2% to 17.9 billion, while the average monthly active accounts increased 5% to 3 million per month;
  • the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 2% (to 7.9 million) between Q3 and Q4; the average session length lasted 18 minutes, with approximately 7% of all sessions lasting more than one hour; and
  • LBO GGY increased 3% to £551 million between Q3 and Q4, while the number of total bets and spins decreased to 3.2 billion.

The country is adjusting to life after a series of restrictions, but the Commission says that it continues to expect extra vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the wider economic environment. Many people will still feel vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period, further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances or readjusting budgets and time as life returns to normal with a wider set of finance drivers.

The Commission expects operators to:

  • continue to follow the strengthened guidance issued during the first lockdown, taking close interest in data that shows consumers expanding their portfolio of games and spending more time or money than before;
  • interact directly where triggers are reached, in addition to their more generic email engagement;
  • avoid any temptation to exploit the current situation for marketing purposes, in particular as consumers adjust back to a new normal and be very cautious when seeking to cross-sell products; and
  • take particular care when on-boarding new customers and making decisions over affordability checks which reflect the environment we are in.

The Commission continues to track market related risk by:

  • assessing the impact of the strengthened guidance issued to operators;
  • monitoring key data along with collecting and publishing this additional data; and
  • where evidence identifies additional risks faced by consumers, taking further action to protect consumers.

The Commission says that it will continue to take steps to permanently strengthen regulatory requirements, encompassing changes to Remote Technical Standards (RTS) and Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice (LCCP) to protect consumers. It will also continue to monitor operators very closely and conduct compliance assessments. To read the Commission’s update in full and for a link to the operator data, click here.