Gambling Commission Outlines Massive UK Growth of Esports Betting During the Pandemic

Posted on July 13, 2020 - Last Updated on July 7, 2023

The Esports Betting industry has undergone a massive increase in popularity in the United Kingdom according to figures released recently. By the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

While it was anticipated that esports betting in the UK would have increased due to the lack of live sports events for punters to bet on in the UK, a new report from the UKGC reveals an incredible year-on-year growth of 2992% over the last few months.

Gross Gambling Yield

The figures look at the Gross Gambling Yield within the UK of different facets of betting offered by betting operators within the country and as of March 2019, UK betting companies made around £50k from their esports offering.

However, by May 2020, that monthly figure had increased to an incredible £4.6 million, and accounted for around 4% of all sports betting revenues across the industry. From March 2020 to May 2020 alone, the monthly increase in Gross Gambling Yield from esports has increased from £1.5 million in March, to £3.39 million in April, to the £4.6 million mentioned earlier in May.

This increase in traffic has resulted in a boomtime for many esports betting companies offering their services within the UK, as well as companies that have tended to offer standard sports betting traditionally, but who have branched out into esports and who have now found a significant proportion of their income is currently derived from this previously niche market.

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UKGC Report

The burgeoning state of the esports betting industry in the UK is one of the main points to take from a recent report issued by the UKGC that looked at data for Gambling Businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK.

The data collected was not a small sample, covering 80% of the UK online gambling market, which makes the figures all the more remarkable. Incredibly, esports grew by 124% from the period of March 2020 to April 2020, when the lockdown was first imposed across the UK.

Other online gaming attractions, such as Poker and Virtual Sports betting also saw an increase, as did some casino games, but betting on slots dropped off by 9% and there was a reduction of 62% on real sports betting over the same period.

Food for Thought

While these latest figures were not unexpected due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on live sports in particular, it is also food for thought for the UK government, especially seeing as they are under pressure to bring in a total of 66 new rules and recommendations regarding gambling after a recent House of Lord select committee report strongly criticised the industry.

Furthermore, with the UK government now actively seeking expansive growth of businesses and a return to pre-Covid-19 levels of commerce, it could well be counter-productive to introduce potentially prohibitive new rules and regulations on one of the few industries that has come out of the pandemic situation positively.

Luckbox, for example, is just one of a number of esports betting companies to have recorded record growth on their platforms during the pandemic.

Esports betting is in rude health and as the UK seeks to attempt to navigate its way out of economic recession caused by the pandemic, imposing hefty new restrictions on any betting or gambling, could well halt growth in that market and alienate a significant proportion of the population.

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Ian John

Ian is a regular contributor to EsportsBets. Ian is well-versed in the world of esports betting and casino gaming and has written extensively on the online gambling industry. Ian brings fresh insight into all facets of gaming.

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