Posted on: May 19, 2022, 9:31 a.m.
Last update: May 19, 2022, 9:39 a.m.
The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has just released an update on the impact of COVID-19 on gambling behavior. The update mainly covers the first quarter of this year and shows a slight decline in gambling activity. online game.
Overall, gambling continues to play an important role in the economy. Yesterday’s UKGC data shows that the gross gaming total return (GGY) generated online during the first quarter was £1.2 billion (US$1.5 billion). This is a decrease of 1% compared to the previous quarter.
The total number of spins or bets placed during the quarter decreased by 2% compared to the previous quarter. However, there was a 5% increase in the monthly average of active customer accounts.
A change in game operations
From the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, gross gaming revenue (GGR) generated by slot machines fell by 5% to approximately £541 million ($676.25 million). The first calendar quarter corresponds to the fourth fiscal calendar in the UKGC reports.
Additionally, the gambling regulator revealed that online slot sessions lasting over an hour fell 2% to 7.9 million over the past two quarters. About 7% of all sessions lasted over an hour, while the average session lasted only 18 minutes.
We recognize that the country is now entering a different phase as we adjust to life after a series of restrictions. We continue to expect increased vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the circumstances brought about by the pandemic and the broader economic environment.“, the UKGC said in a statement.
The UKGC has released data showing the GGY of licensed betting operators increased by 3% to £551m ($688.97m) between the two consecutive quarters. However, the total number of spins and bets placed by consumers fell to 3.2 billion.
Compliance with regulations is essential
The gaming industry watchdog has reiterated its view on the importance of complying with regulations. He expects operators to “follow the enhanced guidelines” he issued during the first COVID-19 lockdown. He also wants game companies to take a closer look at how consumers interact with their platforms and how much money they spend.
Soon, voluntarily monitoring spending will no longer be an option. As the UK continues to rework its gambling laws, the subject of mandatory spending controls is a hot topic. UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes has reiterated his position on several occasions, and if he gets his way, the industry will face some very tough policies.
The industry definitely needs to change the way it thinks about affordability. I think we know across the industry, across government, everyone agrees that something needs to happen around affordability to make sure we don’t have unaffordable gaming and that we have a sensible intervention, so something will have to change“said UKGC CEO Andrew Rhodes.
Instead of ensuring that a consumer is financially able to play on a particular platform, the UKGC wants a solution for all platforms. He wants operators to have access to a consumer’s total gaming spend across all platforms at all times.
The aim is to reduce the harms of gambling. However, even the UKGC has acknowledged that the ‘problem gambling’ segment represents only 0.2% of the overall market.