Safer gaming figures remain stable as online gambling registers its Grand National bump

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published its latest ‘impact report’ tracking online gambling behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic as the UK government eases National Lockdown orders.

Tracking the month of April, the Commission recorded a total online gambling GGY of £560 million, up 3% on March’s corresponding results of £546 million. 

April’s total GGY growth was attributed to ‘a mix of structural growth’ – increase in active player numbers, combined with an increase in recreational players expected during the Grand National fixtured raced on Saturday 9 April.

Aided by the Grand National, total online gambling player numbers hit a ‘record high’ of 12.6 million – with the sportsbook category recording 6.7 million during the period.

Despite the noted increase in player activity, April’s total online gambling volume (bets/stakes) fell by 2% to £6.8 billion – with the Commission recording % declines across all core categories.

A breakdown of vertical performance saw sportsbook register GGY of £267 million, recording its biggest increase since December 2020.

Meanwhile, marked as online gambling’s highest risk vertical, slots GGY remained stable at £202 million – recording a 1% decrease in wagering volume and active players to £6 billion and 3.2 million respectively.

Safer gambling indicators saw online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decrease by 4% to 2.6m between March and April, as average session lengths decreased by almost 20 minutes.

Licensed operators reported that safer gambling customer interactions during April had decreased by 10% to 1 million, with the majority recorded as automated engagements.

“Operators still need to be mindful about the potential of some consumers to be increasing their spend on some of the more intensive products whilst at the same time still engaging in real event betting activity, which was not meaningfully available during the initial lockdown,” the UKGC warned.

Closing its statement, the Commission revealed that it would soon publish its data sets reporting on the progress of UK gambling’s retail performance remerging from national lockdown.

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