COVID-19 and Gambling: How the Virus Affected the Industry

21 Jun 2020

A new survey conducted by the UK government revealed that most of the gambling businesses had realized a fall in revenue by 50% year-on-year, on account of the novel COVID-19 pandemic. The Coronavirus Impact Business Survey, done by DCMS, the Department of Culture, Media and Sports, conducted a survey that involved 4,000 businesses. The polling took place from 23rd April to 22nd May.

The main objective of the survey was to ascertain the bearing of coronavirus pandemic starting from March. Amongst the various companies that participated in the exercise were gambling businesses, primarily thought to be land-based operators.

From 23rd March, when the United Kingdom entered into a lockdown, 30 betting firms that participated said year-on-year returns had dropped by 100%. An additional 14 gambling businesses saw revenue cut back by 50% to 99%. Eight businesses disclosed revenue fell by 1% to 49% year-on-year. On the contrary, only two betting companies realized an increase in revenue.

The greater part of operators seems to have been dependent on government furlough scheme during the pandemic. One operator furloughed between 1% to 24%, three between 50% and 74%, while 32 furloughed between 75% and 100%. Only 20 operators didn’t sign on for the furlough scheme.

Taking a look at the impact of coronavirus in general, 20 gambling companies think their capability to do business is in jeopardy since the survey was conducted. In contrast, a further 20 betting firms said there was no threat, with six being uncertain.

After considering easing actions in response to COVID-19, 40 gambling companies think they can carry on trading as viable entities for between three to six months. Nine operators are confident they can continue trading for up to three months. On the other hand, two operators decided not to continue trading.

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