Amid the stop-start vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic–closures of traditional bookies, et al—and, most significantly, the return of an active sporting schedule, there’s been a terrific boost to the Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of the online British betting scene.
According to just-released information from the UK’s regulatory Gambling Commission (UKGC), iGaming’s GGY grew by over 30 per cent and hit a high of £613.6m (US$869m/€714.5m) in December last year – the biggest monthly yield since the commission started collating data of this type in March, 2020.
Online punters placed nearly 300 million bets on live sports worth some £320m (US$453.2m/€372.6m), a 50 per cent increase over November, the UKGC estimated from figures garnered from operators covering 80 per cent of Internet gaming verticals.
But—from a “safe” gambling perspective–the big increase is not necessarily good news, cautioned the UKGC.
The Commission started collating monthly online gambling trends and data at the height of the first Coronavirus surge in a bid to monitor perceived risks from excessive gambling.
“[And] we will continue to collect and monitor the data to inform our views of risk,” stressed a UKGC spokesperson.
“If these changes appear to be more than short-term fluctuations, we will not hesitate to take further action,” the organisation warned.
Perhaps such fears can be assuaged by clear logic dictating, quite naturally, that there will be an inevitable migration to iGaming if traditional platforms, such as bricks-and-mortar casinos and bingo halls, are shuttered.
According to the UKGC data, online Slots in December was up almost 13 per cent, yielding £199.7m (US$282.8m/€232.5m). The number of players, estimated at three million, was also up; as were the number of spins. Average sessions lasted 22 minutes.
Other online gaming revenue totalled a tad under £74m (US$104.8m/€86m), while Poker garnered £9.4m (US$13.3m/€10.9m). Betting on Esports was the only vertical to see a drop, compared to the previous month, November, with a 6.2 per cent decline to £1.3m (US$1.84m/€1.5m).
Britain’s government, meanwhile, has announced that betting shops in England will reopen in early April and that other traditional retail outlets, casinos and bingo halls will open their doors in mid-May.
No doubt the international betting community will be watching with great interest to see what impact, if any, this has on the seemingly inexorable rise of iGaming.