UKGC Publishes Lockdown Gambling Behavior Data

  • Latest data set looks at April, the first full month of the lockdown
  • Data suggests that overall gambling participation rates have fallen
  • Certain gamblers are spending more time and money on specific products
Checkbox survey using a happy, neutral, sad face scale
United Kingdom Gambling Commission data for the full month of April shows that the pandemic lockdown has not increased the number of people who are gambling. [Image:]

More gamblers stopped than started

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) published new data illustrating the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown on people’s gambling behavior. 

The data specifically looks at the first full month of the lockdown in April, using information from the YouGov COVID-19 tracker and some of the largest online gambling operators. Published June 12, it shows that overall participation rates have fallen, but some gamblers are spending more money and time on certain products.

only 0.2% of those surveyed having gambled for the first time in April

The data suggests that the lockdown did not attract many new gamblers to the space, with only 0.2% of those surveyed having gambled for the first time in April. In contrast, 2% of respondents stopped all forms of gambling in the same period. 

Overall active player accounts fell by 5% from March to April, the lack of major sporting events cited as a large reason for the drop. The lockdown has resulted in active gamblers trying different types of gambling activities for the first time; National Lottery draw-based games were the top new activity. 

UKGC areas of focus

Moving forward, the Commission will continue to evaluate risk for gamblers during the pandemic, looking at such things as what impact the stricter protocols issued to operators are having on people’s gambling behavior. 

The UKGC will continue to collect and publish this type of data and will support the sector as land-based facilities start to reopen. Gambling venues have been closed since March 20; sports betting shops are permitted to reopen on Monday, June 15. If evidence suggests that consumers are facing additional risks during the COVID-19 crisis, further action will be taken to protect them.

You can read the full UKGC report on COVID-19-related data on its website.

Data collection is ongoing

The latest report is a follow-up to to the one that the UKGC published on May 12 that led to updated guidance for operators during the pandemic. The Commission called for better affordability checks, no allowance of reverse withdrawals, and the restricting of bonus offers during the pandemic. 

There has been no increase in the number of illegal gambling complaints during the lockdown.

The YouGov COVID-19 tracker takes a representative sample of about 2,000 adults in Great Britain every week. The YouGov data is not published as official statistics, but provides the UKGC with a useful way to collect evidence through a weekly representative nationwide survey.

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