UKGC Figures Show Sports Betting in the UK Increases by 146%
Online sports betting operators enjoyed a successful June as betting revenue soared by 146% compared to May’s totals. Figures revealed by the regulator show a surge in betting due to the resumption of sporting events after the Covid-19 lockdown.
The gradual resuming of sporting events in the UK has seen a big jump in the number of bets placed at online sports betting sites. Horse racing, the Premier League and Championship football leagues continuing their postponed season, and other sporting events have led to a triple-digit rise on the number of bets placed.
The UK Gambling Commission released data shows 104 million sports bets were placed in May; this number rose sharply to 255.4 million in June as UK sports returned. This increase in bets in reflected in the sports betting gross gambling yield which was worth £217m for the operators, a number that equates to a 115% rise compared to May. There was also a big increase in the number of active players with the figures showing 81% gain on the previous month.
The data shows that the sports betting vertical is showing good signs of recovery after being hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak. In March, revenues from real event sports betting totalled £160,950,242; this figure plummeted to £61,938,466, a drop of £99,011,776. There was a slight recovery in May with revenues of £101,325,941 before the 115% increase in June’s totals of £217,486,648.
During the global pandemic, due to the lack of any sporting events, many operators encouraged customers to try other verticals that couldn’t be affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, these included virtual betting and poker offerings. These verticals provided much-needed income to the operators but were insufficient to compensate for the cancelled sporting events.
This gap is shown when comparing the gross gambling yield between the different verticals between March and April. The UKGC data shows that casino products generated £76,952,429, a rise of £19,122,862 on the previous month’s £57,829,567. Poker rose to £20,068,939 from £12,069,504 an increase of £7,999,435. Virtual betting revenue was £12,818,108 from £9,063,796, up £3,754,312 and esports betting also saw a sharp rise, £3,393,637 is over double March’s figure of £1,517,548. These gains were set against drops in sports betting (£61,938,466 from £160,950,242) and the slot vertical (£186,659,624 to £169,033,423).
Operators had hoped that the gains in emerging markets would be permanent; however, the recent gains in sports betting have come at a cost to these verticals, and the UKGC figures show a continued downward trend in these markets.
Virtual betting enjoyed a 41% surge from March’s figure of £9,063,796 to £12,818,108 before seeing falls of 12% and 15% in May and June. The fall in esports betting took longer to take effect; the market saw a 36% rise in May before falling 25% in June. Although it is worth mentioning that despite this fall, revenues of £1,5,17,548 in March show a remarkable 2,922% upturn compared to March last year. Last year, the revenues for esports in March was just £50,223. Slot betting fell by 5%, which decreased the gross gambling yield for operators by 10%. A similar pattern was seen with online casino betting reduced by 10%, impacting GGY by 12% to the value of £68.5m.
The biggest drop in terms of player activity and revenue was online poker. 31% fewer bets were placed in June compared to May, seeing revenues fall from £202,073,092 to £138,712,018. These figures represent a 36% drop in GGY, worth £11.7m. The engagement figures of online poker players were also down with a 5% fall in gaming sessions lasting longer than an hour.
Despite this drop in slot activity, the vertical is still an important source of revenue and the loss per player figures for slot players is still significantly higher than other activities. In June slot players lost on average of £68, this compares to £54 for real event betting and £37 for casino players.