Given the deep impact of Covid-19 on the betting industry, through the suspension of real-world sports events and closures of land sites, it’s almost impossible to draw meaningful conclusions from the latest iGaming data for this May just released by the UK Gambling Commission.
Online gross gambling yield (GGY), massed from 80 per cent of the licensed market, totalled £533.4 million for the month (US$738.7m/€625.6m) — almost five per cent lower than April. Slots were 4.5 per cent up in May, compared to April, and 14.6 per cent up year-on-year, hitting a GGY of £211.2 million (US$292.5m/€247.7m).
Yet real event betting, despite the end of blanket lockdowns, fell nearly 11 per cent from April to May to £238.8 million (US$330.7m/€280m).
A year-on-year data comparison with May, 2020, with its attributed monthly GGY of £101.4 million (US$140.4m/€118.9m), is almost meaningless because of the then-current Covid shutdown of most sporting events.
Some data, nevertheless, showing a sector-by-sector dip in online GGR may be indicating the reality of a slow crawl back to normality, with—one assumes—some punters edging back from virtual to real-world action.
Casino gaming, excluding slots, brought in £65.3 million in May (US$90.43m/€76.58m), reported the Gambling Commission, a drop of eight percent on April and 16 per cent down year-on-year. Virtual betting and poker were also down on similar metrics; while eSports GGY plunged from £4.6 million to £2 million, year-on-year (US$6.37m/€5.39m-US$2.77m/€2.34m).
The GGY was pretty much down across all online gambling verticals.
And May also saw a monthly fall in active players, with real-event betting seeing a 1.6 million fall in active accounts to 5.1 million from April.
Meanwhile, despite the data mixed messaging, the commission has urged betting operators to stay focussed and true to established safe gambling protocols and responsibilities.