British regulator figures show that online gambling yield rose 4.1 per cent and online slots revenue 15.2 per cent in March.

The latest figures from the Gambling Commission suggest a new record for British online slots revenue in March.

The regulator’s figures, which come from the major igaming operators accounting for around 80 per cent of the British market, show that gross gambling yield from online slots rose 15.2 per cent month-on-month to a record high of £202.9m.

The figure for what was the last full month of strict Covid-19 lockdown in the UK is 1.5 per cent higher than the previous record set in December 2020.

The number of players using slots also reached a new record, rising 10 per cent month-on-month to 3.3m.

While the average slot session length fell to 21 minutes, on par with the lowest yet recorded, the number of sessions of more than an hour rose by 8 per cent month-on-month to 2.7m, and the number of spins surpassed 6bn for the first time.

Total gross gambling yield up while sports betting falls
Total online gross gambling yield, including sports betting, rose 4.1 per cent month-on-month to £546.2m.

Forms of igaming other than slots generated £71.2m, up 10.8 per cent while the number of online casino players grew 13 per cent. However, poker revenue fell slightly to £9.2m.

Online sports betting revenue fell 5.1 per cent from February’s figure to £250.5m despite the Cheltenham Festival. However, the number of sports bettors passed 6m for the first time and the number of bets reached a record high of 375.2m.

Virtual betting increased by 17.7 per cent month-on-month, and esports betting grew 16.9 per cent.

The British Gambling Commission began compiling monthly reports on online gaming revenue in March last year at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. However, it said it believed it was “not advisable” to make year-on-year comparisons because of different operating circumstances.

Meanwhile, a survey carried out by the regulator to investigate how gambling habits had changed under lockdown found that more gamblers reported that their gambling had reduced since the start of the first lockdown in March 2020 than those who said it had increased.

Some 23 per cent said they gambled less after the start of the first lockdown, while 18 per cent said they gambled more.

The difference was smaller than that reported in previous surveys. Some three per cent of respondents said their gambling had increased “a lot”, whereas 12 per cent said it had decreased “a lot“.

The main reason cited for gambling more was boredom (47 per cent of responses), followed by having more spare time (35 per cent) and having more money (20 per cent).

Gambling Commission proposal for mandatory affordability checks

The regulator said it was continuing to work on its controversial proposal to introduce mandatory affordability checks on customers as part of its review on customer interaction after receiving a huge number of responses to its consultation.

It did not clarify as to whether it proposal would be subsumed by the UK government’s wider review of gambling legislation.

It said: “Our work on remote customer interaction continues. We continue to review the large amount of evidence we received in the 13,000 responses we received to our consultation and call for evidence.
We will in due course be publishing an update and setting out what our next steps will be, which will focus upon addressing the risks that we currently see in our casework.
In the meantime, the Commission continues to take action in relation to any breaches to the current customer interaction requirements that are identified as a result of compliance and enforcement activity.
This is a vital area to continue to address because whilst some operators have continued to improve their customer interaction processes, our evidence shows that many online operators are not setting thresholds for action at appropriate levels.
They are not taking the appropriate action or acting quickly enough when they do identify risks of potential harm.”

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