The coronavirus pandemic was one of the biggest and most severe shocks of our daily lives in the past few decades. Whereas individuals often adapt their habits to different situations, the pandemic saw a large change in the habits of people which have stuck even now that lockdown restrictions are easing.
Online gamblers were given all the time in the world throughout the pandemic to experiment with different gaming and betting companies as well as the different games that the operators offer.
The UK Gambling Commission, as reported by Find Betting Sites, suggests that there was an overall increase in the number of active users across different gambling games.
However, this does not mean that more people started gambling throughout the pandemic. That is because a single gambler who, for example, plays on the online casino, slots games and roulette will count as an active user in the three games categories – such that the single player is counted as an active user across the three games.
The Gambling Commission in the UK reports that, throughout the pandemic, the amount of active users has increased by 1.5 million but, again, this does not necessarily mean that a new batch of 1.5 million people in the UK had started betting and gambling online since the pandemic started.
In fact, gross gambling yield remains GBP 80 mln lower than the pre-pandemic levels.
So, an alternative scenario explaining what the online gambling industry looks like today, is that whether there are more or fewer actual individual gamers on the platforms, it is clear that however many users there are, they are playing more types of games than before.
Perhaps, this is because they have been experimenting with more of what the gambling and betting industry has to offer.
Regardless, they are simply testing more, but not necessarily spending more.
A lot of the major betting and gambling service providers had insane deals throughout the pandemic to attract clientele, and so they had seen an increase in the amount of players and the amount of different games that they played. But the actual return on investment, in terms of raw gross gambling yield may have been quite underwhelming.
Core gaming business model suffered
There may have been other revenue sources, such as advertising, marketing and sponsorships due to increased website traffic, however the core of the business model as it stands now, suffered.
From the consumer side, gambling behaviour has stayed remarkably consistent. This can be seen through research conducted by the UK Gambling Commission, which shows that the average slots game lasted around 21 or 22 minutes in all but one month of the pandemic.
So, although there has been an incredible amount of commotion in the economy, how the online betting industry operates and large amounts of new players joining, the core of the consumers’ behaviour has stayed roughly the same. In some areas of gambling at least, people’s habits and consumer behaviour has been unchanged by the pandemic.
There is not one single effect which the pandemic has had on the online gambling industry. In some cases, like slots games, consumer behaviour has stayed consistent over the pandemic.
However, for the industry at large, the increases in consumers present on the platforms, having experimented with many games has not translated into larger, sustained gross gambling yields for the industry.