Gambling Commission Confirm Sustained Esport Betting Growth

Official Statistics released by the UKGC show that the incredible increase in esport betting has been sustained, even after the resumption of major sports

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Gambling Commission Data Shows Sustained Esport Betting Growth © Pixabay.

The Gambling Commission has released statistics that show the astonishing surge in esports betting, brought on by the coronavirus, has been maintained, despite the return of most top-flight sports. The lack of sporting events led to a surge in betting in other verticals, with virtual games, poker and esports seeing impressive gains.

Year on year figures showed a 37% increase in virtual sports, 50% in poker revenue and spectacular 2,922% in esport betting. The esport market was worth just over £50k in March 2019; the latest figures show revenues of over £1.5m.

Month-on-month data showed the gross gambling yield increased by 124% between March and April for esports. Poker’s GGY increased by 66%, and virtuals contributed 41%. The figures from between April and May, when some sporting events resumed, showed that the only vertical that continued the upward trend was esports. Esports generated a 36% increase on GGY, rising from £3.4m in April to £4.6m in May. Virtuals declined by 7.4% in the same time frame, and poker showed an even bigger drop of 8.6%.

However, despite the impressive growth of the esports market, the fledgeling market still lags behind the virtual sports and poker markets by GGY value. In May, esports accrued £4.6m in GGY for operators, virtual’s figure Is £11.3m, and poker is worth £18.3m.

In the UKGC’s data, it is clear that the boost enjoyed by virtual sports was temporary with consumers returning to betting on real sports once they returned. The vertical enjoyed a 44% upturn from March 2020 to April 2020 but nosedived by 48% in May.

The Gambling Commission data showed the number of active players wagering on virtuals was 338,786 in March 2020. This player figure rose to a record 558,067 in April before sharply dropping to 287,777 in May, a figure that is typical for the vertical.

Another vertical that has helped online operators during the sports betting hiatus was online slots. Slots showed a year-on-year improvement of 25% to March 2020. However, figures for April 2020 and May 2020 reveal a steady decline. Active players rose from 2,095,824 active players in March 2019 to 2,618,165 in March 2020. This figure dropped by 2% to 2,559,242 in April and a similar fall in May to 2,443,130.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the data reveals that sports betting has been hit hard with the number of active users falling by 11% compared to last year. 5,200,165 people placed a sports bet in March 2019; this number fell to 4,635,552 in March 2020. The lack of betting opportunities in April was evident with a 55% drop in players to 2,073,998. There was a further drop in April, the number falling under 2 million for the first time at 1,946,024.

You can read the Gambling Commission’s report on the effect of the Co-vid-19 virus at the UKGC website.

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