British Gambling Yield Declines in First Two Months of 2021
The Gambling Commission in the UK has released statistics that show an overall decrease in the gambling yield for January and February of 2021.
The figures are a surprise to many, given that the yield went up significantly last year, but only after national lockdowns were imposed in March owing to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Real-Event Betting Could Fall Further
The gross gambling yield fell by 19% to £495.4 million from December 2020 to February 2021, showing a decrease in active gambling accounts. Accounts were down 4% to 10.2 million, which led to a drop in bets by 6% to 6.2 billion.
Real-event betting yield, incorporating sports betting such as that on football and horse racing, came in at £234.5 million in February, down by 16% from December, with another £6.7 million coming in from virtual betting and £1.6 million for eSports wagers.
Real-event betting accounts were listed as numbering 4.8 million, placing some 282.8 million bets between them. This may fall even further in the next set of stats, given that March’s Cheltenham Festival was not the most successful owing to the lack of crowds and a poor showing from British horses.
Slots and Poker
As for slots, gross gambling yield fell by just 1% to almost £177 million in the same reporting period. The number of spins decreased by 6% to 5.5 billion, although the number of active accounts within this sector remained the same at 3 million.
Online slot sessions did increase, lasting more than an hour on average, which is an increase of 4% from December to February. Its peak came in January when hitting 2.6 million sessions. There was a 1% fall between January and February.
The average slot game session length was 21.5 minutes, with 2.5 million sessions (approx. 9%) lasting more than an hour.
Poker sessions online brought in £9.3 million in revenue, while a further £64.3 million came in from other casino table games.
The Effect of National Lockdown
As opposed to 2020, January and February 2021 saw Britain continue to be in national lockdown. Naturally, this left the land-based sector such as casinos and betting shops unable to open.
According to the prime minister’s roadmap, high street betting offices are expected to resume operations in England on April 12th, while casinos may open up on May 17th at the earliest.
With everyone betting online, the Gambling Commission has reiterated to licenced operators that extra vigilance is still needed considering many registered customers may be more vulnerable to gambling-related harm owing to the lockdown situation.
Only Real-Event and Slots are Down at the Start of the Year
The Gambling Commission reported the January and February figures together but may not do so from March onwards.
In January alone, gambling operators yielded £568.3 million, which is down 7.4% from the previous month. Real-event betting revenue reached £279.8 million, while slot game revenue totalled £193.9 million.
Real-event betting and slots both declined in this time, while eSports, poker and other revenue streams increased in the same period.
It goes without saying that, owing to the Cheltenham Festival and the start of the British flat racing season, real-event betting will go up in March on the back of horse racing alone. It remains to be seen, however, how the figures will compare to last year.