In the United Kingdom, COVID-19 has significantly influenced everyday life. For the vast majority of individuals, it is an experience they have never had and are unlikely to have again in their lives. The coronavirus pandemic has had and will continue to significantly impact the UK industry for some time. Did COVID-19 impact the best UK online casino sites when it came to online gambling, especially online casinos?
While brick-and-mortar casinos were unable to function, the best online gambling sites in the UK continued to do so. The number of live casino games available may have decreased somewhat. Some of them used land-based casinos to run these games, but in general, all of the games offered before COVID-19 were still available.
Using the search phrase “online poker” as an example, the results are consistent before March 2020. There is no substantial change in the data between December 2019 and the end of February 2020.
However, when looking at data from March 13, 2020, there is a significant increase in the number of individuals searching for “online poker.” This was the first time we noticed signs of coronavirus becoming a severe issue in the UK, and Prime Minister Boris Johnson responded with lockdown measures 20 days later.
From March 2020 onwards, the number of people searching for “online casino” increased dramatically, reaching its highest level in more than 16 years in March, April, and May.
Looking at some of the numbers released by the Gambling Commission, it seems that the number of bets put on online slots games increased by 16 percent between March 2019 and March 2020. Both April and May saw a rise in this number. Between March 2019 and March 2020, the number of poker bets climbed by 38%, with a huge 70% spike between March 2020 and April 2020.
Between April and May 2020, the average expenditure per active player grew, particularly in the areas of slots and virtual gambling.
A YouGov poll surveyed gamblers whether they had increased the time or money they spent on particular gambling activities in the previous four weeks (between the end of May and June).
73% said they had not increased the amount of time or money they spend on gambling activities. However, 17% of those surveyed indicated they had increased the time or money they spent on gaming. Specifically, 9% indicated they had increased the amount of money they spent on gambling, while 3% said they had increased the amount of time they spent gaming.
Given that all land-based casinos in the United Kingdom have closed during this period, the growth has come from the online casino industry.
Online sports betting, on the other hand, is a different story. Most professional sporting events were postponed not just in the United Kingdom but also across the globe. As a result, all betting markets involving these sports were immediately unavailable. Some individuals would have given up gambling entirely, while others would have shifted to virtual sports betting.