New data hints that UK sports betting is on the road to recovery

UK Sports Betting on the road to recovery

Sports betting revenue in the UK enjoyed a ‘notable increase’ in May, according to data shared by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC)

The country remained in lockdown throughout said month, but sporting events in other countries – such as the German Bundesliga – returned to action. 

Data was collected from the country’s largest regulated gambling operators, as well as YouGov’s COVID-19 tracker

While sports betting revenue rose, active player accounts in a number of online gaming verticals actually went down. 

Football playing a key role in the recovery of UK sports betting 

The new UKGC data builds on what the commission first published on 12th May and then updated in June.  

Between April and May, gross gambling yield (GGY) rose by 64%. Moreover, real-event betting went up by 60%. Comparatively, activity in this field had dropped by 66% between March and April this year. 

According to the UKGC, overall gambling participation hasn’t changed much. In its statement, it had the following to say. 

“The seven waves of the YouGov survey conducted from 16 April to 18 June show past-four-week gambling participation has remained relatively stable, within a range of 28-32%.  

“There has, however, been a notable recovery in sports betting participation, which fell to 1% in wave 9 (6-7 May) but has now risen to 5% in the latest wave (17-18 June). This corresponds with the return of more elite-level sport, including Premier League football.”

Other verticals starting to see a drop in activity 

One place that UK sports betting operators turned their eyes towards after the sporting shutdown was poker. This vertical had enjoyed a 38% year-on-year rise in bets placed this March, compared to the same month in 2019. And between March and April 2020, betting activity jumped up by 70%. However, poker witnessed an 11% drop in bets from April-May.

In total, the number of active players declined by 48% between April and May. Virtual betting dropped by 14%, with what the commission describes as ‘other forms of gaming’ (including online casino) falling by 2%. Slots rose by 3%, which was slimmer than its 15% jump between March and April. 

The UKGC also commented on the overall falling number of players outside of sports betting. 

“Online operator data shows that with the exception of real event betting, there has been a fall in the number of active players for each vertical. 

“Although some of the decreases are relatively small in percentage terms, this is not the case for virtual betting which saw a spike due to the Virtual Grand National in April.”