Total online gross gaming yield (GGY) in the UK during the fourth quarter (January to March) has slightly decreased by 1% from Q3 to £1.2 billion ($1.5 billion), according to the UK Gambling Commission, which shared Wednesday its latest report on the impact of Covid-19 on gambling behavior.
Operator data to March 2022 shows that GGY has declined as lockdown and pandemic-related restrictions eased in Great Britain. Additionally, the overall number of total bets/spins decreased 2% from Q3 to Q4.
Slots GGY decreased 5% to nearly £541 million ($674.9 million) between Q3 and Q4, with the number of spins down to 17.9 billion; however, the average monthly active accounts increased 5% to 3 million per month.
The UK Gambling Commission reports this data on a quarterly basis, allowing for quarter-on-quarter comparisons, given year-on-year contrasts might be distorted given notable differing operating circumstances between the periods.
“We recognize that the country is now entering a different phase as we adjust to life after a series of restrictions,” the UKGC said in a statement. “We continue to expect extra vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the circumstances brought on by the pandemic and the wider economic environment.”
“Many people will still feel vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period, further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances or readjusting budgets and time as life returns to normal with a wider set of finance drivers,” added the Commission.
Further findings of the report show that the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour has decreased by 2% (to 7.9 million) between Q3 and Q4, with the average sessions length at 18 minutes. Approximately only 7% of all sessions lasted more than one hour.
Additionally, gross gaming yield for licensed betting operators increased 3% to £551m ($687.4 million) in the fourth quarter, while the number of total bets and spins decreased to 3.2 billion, according to the latest operator data.
The UKGC also listed a number of conditions they expect operators to follow, including a commitment to continue the strengthened guidance issued during the first lockdown, and taking a close interest in data that shows consumers expanding their portfolio of games and spending more time or money than before.
The Commission has also called on companies to interact directly where triggers are reached, in addition to more generic email engagement; and to take particular care when on-boarding new customers and making decisions over affordability checks which reflect “the environment we are in.”