Online Gambling Soars by £1bn During the First Year of COVID Pandemic

Increased revenue for the Gambling Commission

Revenue numbers from the Gambling Commission show a significant rise in online gambling. For example, in the UK, remote betting, casino and bingo made a total of £6.9billion in gross gambling yield (GGY) in March 2021. GGY is charged by operators from bets after paying out any winnings.

This saw an increase of 18% from £5.8bn in 2019-20, making it by far the largest increase since 2016-17. Online casinos alone brought in £4.0bn in GGY during 2020-21. A year earlier they had made 22% less. At online casinos, slots machines alone made the most profits, with figures of up to 73% of GGY which translated to £2.9bn.

Peer-to-peer games became more popular

Peer-to-peer poker, roulette and blackjack games increased the most. These casino table games are different in that the players are able to play against each other and together in the live casino environment. GGY for such games went up by 44%, totalling £141.7million. For roulette, GGY revenue rose to £528.5m, and for blackjack, it went up by 4% to £196.4m.

COVID-19 lockdown may be the cause

This soar may be a result of everyone being stuck indoors and unable to participate in most social activities. Furthermore, the increased prevalence of home working is an important consideration as the temptation to gamble online is always there.

Moreover, new gambling opportunities opened up for regular gamblers online. After lockdown, many mainstream sports were ceased. Esports, therefore, became more popular.

Regulation could become necessary

Online casino games can be seriously addictive. Relentless advertising of online gambling may be irresponsible and has called for more regulation by campaigners. Additionally, with no limit to the amount of stake on the various online casino products, it is possible for addicted players to bet all their life savings.

Children are also falling prey to this advertising, especially for esports on social media. Consequently, they could get locked into addictive habits from an early age.

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