The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has released March 2021’s gross online gambling yield, in which revenue for operators grew compared to February.
Increases in earnings were drastically helped by online slots, with the vertical enjoying its highest-ever revenue figures.
Reported data covers the 13 months since COVID-19 lockdowns commenced in the UK.
How did online slots do?
Compared to February 2021, online gambling revenue grew by 4.1% – reaching £546.2 million. Online slots rose to £202.9 million, demonstrating a 15.2% month-on-month increase.
The slots figures were also 1.2% greater than in December 2020, which was the previous record-holding month.
During March, online slots spins went beyond the six billion mark for the first time ever. There were 3.3 million slots players in that month – also a record high – which was 10% higher than in February 2021.
The number of slots players was also higher than in the final month of last year, beating that total by 10.1%.
Revenue up, slots sessions down
Despite rising operator revenue, the average length of slots sessions actually dropped. Averages fell to 21 minutes, which was the joint-lowest ever.
With that being said, sessions lasting more than an hour went the other way. 2.7 million lasted for longer than this time period, which was 8% higher than in February 2021.
What about the other online gambling verticals?
Outside of slots, online gambling (excluding sports betting) generated £71.2 million in earnings. This was 10.8% higher than in the previous month.
Online casino players also rose by 13% compared to February. Poker didn’t enjoy as much success, with revenue dropping to £9.2 million.
Sports betting wasn’t as prosperous for operators with revenue declining by 5.1% month-on-month. Despite the Cheltenham Festival, revenue could only reach £250.1 million. However, the volume of sports bets was a record, with players wagering £375.2 million.
As for other verticals, esports wagering revenue rose by 16.9%. Virtual betting, meanwhile, jumped up by 17.7%.
More people playing less during lockdown
Around the same time it released its March results, the UKGC also announced the findings from a player survey it conducted.
23% of people said that their gambling habits had declined since the first lockdown last March. This was up from 18% when a similar survey, conducted in Q4 2020, was released.
3% of individuals said that their gambling habits had risen “a lot”. At the other end of the scale, 12% of players said that they are now playing significantly less.