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How is the State of Online Gambling Today?

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2020 has been…eventful to say the least. Pretty much everything that could go wrong has at some point, but luckily we’re still standing, ready to plough through the rest of the year. Pubs and casinos had to close down for a large chunk of the year, leaving online casinos as people’s only viable option.

While we all try and make the best of this bad situation, how has the online gambling community been affected?

2020 has seen many sectors change drastically, and online gambling hasn’t been an exception to that rule.

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No More Credit Card Payments

Earlier this year, the Gambling Commission publicly announced that making deposits at an online casino using a credit card would become officially illegal in the UK. This decision was made after the results from a survey conducted by the UKGC showed that almost 22% of all the British gamblers who were using their credit card to deposit into their accounts were classified as problem gamblers.

More research showed that an increasing number of people that were getting into large volumes of debt because they were making deposits with their credit card.

Said restrictions came into effect on 14th April 2020. E-wallet providers such as PayPal said that they would contact their users to make sure they are aware of the new legislation that has come to pass, and those that had credit cards linked to their account should add a valid debit card instead. So no more credit slots game for you.

Online Real Gambling Event

The Gambling Commission has published data which showing how the easing of Covid-19 lockdown measures has impacted online gambling behaviour.

The data collected refers to March plus three months of full lockdown in April, May and June. It was collected from the largest online operators and only takes into online gambling into account.

The data provided by companies shows a Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) increase of 115% for online real event betting between May and June (rising to £217.5m), with GGY higher during June than at ‘average’ pre-lockdown levels.

The data shows the release of pent-up demand, especially for football-related betting and should be seen in the context of the lack of availability or reluctance of some consumers to bet in LBOs.

A number of player-friendly attributes in June included the high frequency of fixtures following the return of top flight football, some live free-to-air television coverage, and favourable timings in terms of matches being spread out during the day and evening.

Online slots Abudance 

Despite a 1% increase in the number of online slots players since May, the same period saw a 5% decrease in the total number of slots spins (bets), with a corresponding 10% decline in loss per active player.

Loss per player figures are still higher for slots than for any other online gambling activity, with an average monthly loss of £68 for slots versus £54 for real event betting and £37 for casino during June.

Underage Gambling Concerns

According to the Gambling Commission’s statistics, as many as 450,000 children between ages 11 and 16 bet regularly. To prevent underage gamblers from cheating the system and start playing casino games before the legal age, the Commission has ordered online casinos to manually verify the age of their customers by asking them to provide some form of identification.

This is a reasonable solution to the underage gambling problem, as online gambling platforms are prohibited from accepting payments from cards that aren’t on the same name as the account. In addition, the time taken to verify someone’s identity by the gambling operator has been drastically reduced in order to handle the increasing amount of requests that they are receiving.

Indications of Safer Gambling

Since the commission issued extra guidance to operators in May, the number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour decreased by 5% in the month to June (from 2,085,023 to 1,987,121). Average session length has also decreased by 1m in this time.

Between May and June, the number of customer interactions increased by 12% (from 760,48 to 849,428), although within that number the majority were automated.

Operator data indicates that during June, 6% of those interactions reported were direct contact from staff.