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Online Gambling Activity Slows Post-Christmas

The UK Gambling Commission has recently published operator data for the first two months of 2021 which shows how continuing COVID-19 lockdown measures have impacted British gambling behaviours.

With most of the population returning to work (albeit remotely) after a traditionally busy Christmas and New Year, there was a 4% decline in active accounts and 6% in bets. Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) also dropped by 19%.

Online slots, which are particularly popular both at online casinos and bingo sites, have been a particular cause for concern over the past six months due to the high amounts that can be potentially wagered and lost over short periods and the ease at which gamblers can configure them to spin automatically using auto-play. Therefore, the UK Gambling Commission has been tracking the average player session length, as well as keeping a close eye on sessions that last more than an hour.

Although 60+ minute sessions rose by 4% by the end of December 2020, they subsequently fell by 1% in January and February 2021. Most players averaged sessions lasting around 21 minutes and only 9% of gamblers continued to play for more than an hour.

After reviewing its most recent findings and comparing it with its experience of how the pandemic has affected players so far, the Gambling Commission has recommended that operators continue to be extra-vigilant. However, the situation does not seem to be out of control as it was feared might happen.

The continued operator responsibilities include following the UKGC’s strengthened guidance that was originally issued at the start of the pandemic, monitoring how much time and money players are spending and interacting with them when certain triggers are reached, plus ensuring that they are not seen to be taking advantage of the current situation for financial gain.

The Commission will be continuing to closely monitor gambling operator and conduct compliance assessments and will take any necessary action if it feels that its rules and standards are being breached.

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