Many UK businesses have been negatively affected by the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including those in the gambling sector.
After the prime minister’s order issued on March 20, all retail gambling venues had to close. The closure forced a stopped half of the overall market activities, excluding lotteries. The order still allows customers to purchase National Lottery tickets in a retail environment; there is a small decrease in retail outlets availability.
However, the number of gambling players has been fewer than the time before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. A YouGov research on April 16-17 showed that the lockdown period does not appear to have attracted more new consumers to gambling compared to the initial outburst over the online gambling.
Accordingly, only 0.2% of all surveyed adults stated that they had gambled for the first time during the last 4 weeks. Meanwhile, 2% of them affirmed that they had stopped gambling during the period. Thereby, the gambling market has lost 1.8% of customers during the period, the research showed.
The number of overall active player accounts recorded a 5% decrease in March and April, driven by the real event betting along with the non-Gamstop online casino site. It also reflected the shortage of quality sports during April due to the suspensions and cancellations of almost all sporting events.
Despite the drop in consumers participating in sports betting, the operator assessed that the participation had not fallen as drastically as the anticipation at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
There has been an upward trend in the number of activities engaged by online gambling consumers. In April 2019, 26% of consumers engaged in more than one online activity. The figure rose to 42% in April 2020.
The YouGov research assessed that the lockdown period had promoted an increase in gambling activities. A third of past four-week gamblers had tried more one gambling activity for the first time during the lockdown, leading to over half of engaged gamblers.