The data analyzed and published by Safe Betting Sites revealed a spectacular increase in online gambling during the COVID-19 outbreak period. The eSports betting sector experienced a mind-blowing 2,922% increase in gross gambling yield for casino operators from March 2019 to March 2020.
With data collected from the industry’s top operators, the report covers about 80% of the online gambling market. Gross gambling yield refers to the amount that casino operators retain after paying out winnings but prior to deducting operational costs. It is important to note that the betting market has for a long time been considered the backbone of the gambling sector. In 2019, it yielded a total GGY of £2.8 billion in Great Britain.
Notably, while certain sectors of the industry have suffered during the pandemic, eSports betting has seen a considerable uptick. In March 2019, eSports betting reported a £50,223 gross gambling yield. By March 2020 when COVD-19 was taking root in Europe, the number had risen to a staggering £1,517,548.
A similar trend carried during the subsequent months, reaching £3,393,637 in April, and in May, £4,616,610. The massive YoY increase for the period between March 2019 and March 2020 reveals that even prior to the pandemic, the UK had a rapidly growing eSports betting market. However, the pandemic had fuelled growth massively as the increase from March 2020 to April 2020 was an incredible 124%.
Moreover, gaming giant Evolution Gaming revealed in its H1 2020 report that it had almost doubled its revenue YoY. For the six-month period ending June 30, 2020, it marked a revenue increase of 47.5% to £221 million and a 97.5% increase in profits YoY.
Real Event Sports Betting Sees 146% Upsurge Post-Lockdown After £100M Drop
The UKGC also published a report showing the impact of easing lockdown measures on online gambling. According to this report, real event sports betting suffered a significant blow during the peak of the outbreak. Revenue for this sector in March was £160,950,242, plummeting to £61,938,466 in April – a drop of almost £100 million. In May, there was a slight recovery to £101,325,941.
However, things took a complete turnaround during the period between May and June 2020, with the sector recording a 146% increase. While in May, punters had placed 104 million sports bets in all, in June the number rose to 255.4 million. Part of the reason for this increase was the resumption of sporting events following the easing of lockdown measures.
As would be expected, the increase had an impact on the gross gambling yield, resulting in a 115% gain compared to the previous month. Similarly, the number of active players rose by 81% during the same period.
Active Participants Drop by -2% YoY Overall, -55% in Real Event Betting in One Month
Data from the UKGC also reveals interesting insights on gambling activity as well as on the performance of different verticals within the online gambling space. A comparison between the total number of active participants in March 2019 and in March 2020 for instance reveals a drop.
In March 2019, there were 15,955,960 active participants, while in March 2020, the number reduced to 15,618,569. This marked a YoY change of -2%. The numbers continued to drop during April and May 2020, to 14,834,583 and 14,661,935 respectively. From March to April 2020, the percentage change was -5.02%, and from April to May, it was -1.02%.
With regard to specific verticals, real event betting saw the biggest drop, -11% from March 2019 to March 2020. The actual number of actives went down from 5,200,165 to 4,635,552. A much bigger drop was experienced between March and April 2020. Actives reduced by a whopping -55% to 2,073,998. But in May 2020, there was a 13% increase, to 2,349,895.
68% of Engaged Gamblers Increased Time or Money Spent on Gambling
While revenue reports seem to paint a rosy picture, changes in consumer behavior during the outbreak period tell a different story. According to statistics from YouGov, 8% of adults in the UK said they had reduced the amount of money or time spent on gambling during the lockdown. Only 3% of survey respondents said they were gambling more or had started gambling for the first time.
However, for “engaged” gamblers, those who gamble at least thrice per week, 68% had increased either the time or money they spent on gambling. This is in line with the findings from a Paf study which reveals that casino operators in the industry make most of their money from a few big players.