Back to the Future, Sort Of..

Overall, there are few fresh takeaways in gaming data for month August just released by the Gambling Commission.

The sports betting yield—surprise, surprise—declined by around 22 per cent to an estimated value of £164.4m, compared to previous month July, because of European football taking its traditional short summer break.

Indeed, according to the commission’s estimate, which is based on data from polling operators representing 80 per cent of the British market, turnover and player participation across all platforms continued to shadow July’s decline following the suspension of the coronavirus Covid-19 lockdown.

Slots were the only vertical to report an increase in revenue: up, by just under one per cent, to £164.1m.

Poker, meanwhile, continued to decline from its lockdown peak. GGY fell 7.5 per cent to £8.3m, representing a 58.4 per cent fall from its high of £20.1m in April – at the apex of first wave Covid in the UK.

Virtual sports were also down, month-over-month, according to the commission estimate. In August, they fell a further 16.1 per cent £6.7m, a drop of 47.9 per cent compared to the £12.8m peak of April.

With most traditional sports back in some form of action, eSports betting has also seen a decline. Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) for eSports slumped almost 30 per cent in August to a disappointing £1.8m.

The decline in GGY across all online sectors was abetted by a fall in active punters, with overall numbers declining by almost 10 per cent to 3.8m players. The drop in slots action, however, was relatively slight, falling 2.1 per cent to 2.4m players.

In the Great British betting shop market data from operators representing around 85 per cent of the sector revealed that gaming machine yield in August—estimated at £80m—topped sports wagers; despite a two per cent month-on-month drop in action.

According to more specific data, over-the-counter GGY was up 13.9 per cent to £71.2m because more betting shops reopened. But self-service betting terminal revenue dropped 29.3 per cent to £16.4m.

In broad view, the commission suggests that there has been little change in customer habits during this time of Covid. About 70 per cent of punters say they have not changed their gambling habits; 18 per cent claim they have decreased their gambling spend, while eight per cent concede they have upped their wagering.

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