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Gambling Commission figures show impact of Covid-19 on GB industry

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The British Gambling Commission has released industry statistics collected from its licensees for the six-month period from April – September 2020, showing total gross gambling yield (GGY) of £5.89bn in the jurisdiction.

Prior to releasing the statistics for this six-month period, the Gambling Commission had released its figures annually for the period from April – March. For April 2019–March 2020, the numbers showed a GGY of £14.12bn, which suggests a significant decline year-on-year for the period.

Of the total, The National Lottery brought in £1.61bn, while online casino represented the largest vertical by yield, at £1.94bn. Sports betting represented the next largest vertical, with its online and land-based sectors bringing in £1.04bn and £629.3m respectively.

Other lotteries, both online and land-based, brought in a further £310.5m, while online and land-based bingo brought in £98.1m and £92.0m, respectively.

The land-based sector suffered significantly during the period due to closures and other restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, with land-based casinos bringing in just £67.0m over the six months, compared to £1.02bn during the full year from April 2019 – March 2020.

Retail betting also showed a significant decline, at £629.3m, compared to £2.41bn for the prior full-year figure. Land-based bingo, meanwhile, brought in £92.0m compared to £575.2m between April 2019 and March 2020.

The online sector – where more detailed figures allowed for year-on-year comparisons – saw growth meanwhile, bringing in a total GGY of £3.08bn between April and September 2020, compared to £2.81bn for the same period in 2019, an increase of 9.6%.

Of this figure, £1.94bn was brought in by the online casino sector, up 22.7% from the same period in 2019, while online betting generated £1.04bn, down 8.8%, mostly due to sporting events being suspended for part of the period measured.

Online bingo, meanwhile, brought in GGY of £98.1m, up 6.2% from £92.4m.

In total, 15.3m new online gaming accounts were registered during the period, though the overall number of active accounts decreased slightly from 31.0m in September 2019 to 30.7m in September 2020.

The number of active operators in the market declined from 2,689 in March 2019, to 2,577 in March 2020 and 2,522 as of September 2020. The number of operators offering multiple activities declined slightly from 381 to 379 over the same period.

The number of active gaming premises declined from 10,128 in March 2020 to 9,036 in September, a reduction of 10.8%. Of the active premises, 6,735 are betting establishments, down 12.3%, and 1,390 are adult gaming centres, down 4.2%.

The number of active casinos in the jurisdiction was reduced from 156 to 131 between March and September, while the number of bingo premises declined from 648 to 601.

Family entertainment centres represented 179 of the active gaming premises as of September 2020, compared to 190 in March.

The average number of land-based gaming machines in Great Britain was reduced from 186,832 between April 2019 and March 2020, to 116,333 between April and September 2020, a reduction of 37.7%.

The Gambling Commission explained that due to difficulties caused by the pandemic, estimates have not been included where operators have failed to return figures to the regulator, and that this may lead to some actual totals being understated in the published statistics.

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