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Betting rooms, slots, bingo, online, virtual betting, illegal gaming, advertising, politics: research on the global impact of the lockdown on the gaming market in the first half of 2020

September 7, 2020

The impact of Covid-19 has brought the world economy to its knees, not least that linked to gambling which, due to the lockdown following the health crisis, has effectively prevented the collection of games and bets. A study conducted by the IAGR (International Association of Gaming Regulators) on the impact of the coronavirus on the global gambling industry revealed, in the first half of the year, a decrease in revenues of more than 50% compared to the period January-June 2019, with figures close to -100% in the period between March and June.

PHYSICAL GAMING - In particular, the impact on physical gaming has been dramatic, with a drop of -97% for casinos - a similar percentage for gaming machines outside casinos - of -95% for bingo, -94% for sports betting. These numbers are inevitable, considering the total closure of casinos, slots and betting rooms, combined with the simultaneous stop of the main sports leagues. Losses from lotteries - instant and non-instant - were more limited, which fell by -57%, but which were able to count on a distribution not linked exclusively to a gaming store, but to retail activities that remained open during the pandemic in most jurisdictions .

ONLINE GAMING - The situation is different with regards to online gambling. Spending in internet casinos has remained stable globally, with half of the jurisdictions surveyed by the IAGR reporting no material changes. For bingo, 7 out of 10 jurisdictions have not reported any material changes. Online betting saw a substantial decrease in half of the jurisdictions due to the reduction in betting opportunities on sporting events, which have been suspended. Spending on the online lottery product did not change in half of the jurisdictions (47%), but it did increase in 4 out of 10 jurisdictions, probably driven by the "channel change" as regular players began purchasing the products. online lottery. Online poker appears to have seen the most growth in spending, with half of the jurisdictions (50%) reporting a substantial increase. It is clear, however, the study points out, that terrestrial GGR has been more affected by the impact of Covid-19, while online gaming has proven more resilient to the pandemic, with lotteries and online poker even benefiting from it.

VIRTUAL BETTING - In many jurisdictions, the lack of sporting events has led operators to increase virtual betting. However, the IAGR study highlights how betting on virtual events is not allowed in 34% of the interviewed jurisdictions. In those where betting is allowed, about one third (35% of respondents) reported that virtual stakes have not increased. A quarter (26% of respondents) said virtual bets have increased while a minority of jurisdictions (7% of respondents) say they have decreased. Although the data is not yet fully available, globally betting on virtual events has generally increased. However, it should be noted that the GGR of virtual betting started from a low base and remains low in relation to total spending in the betting sector.

PLAYER SELF-EXCLUSION - In jurisdictions where self-exclusion schemes have been implemented, the survey showed that there has been no change in the total number of consumers who self-exclude for almost half of the jurisdictions (43% of respondents). A third (36% of respondents) saw a decrease in self-exclusions. A fifth of jurisdictions (21% of respondents) reported an increase in players who excluded themselves during the outbreak.

ILLEGAL GAMING - For those jurisdictions that had data available, 4 out of 10 (38% of respondents) reported that illegal and unlicensed gambling did not change during the pre-covid period. 21% of respondents said the levels were even lower, while 4 in 10 (42% of respondents) said they had increased. According to the IAGR, the decreases would have been driven by the suspension or reduction of land-based gambling, while the increase could be the result of consumers switching to illegal products or unlicensed online gambling sites. In the latest IAGR "Gambling Regulation" report, regulators announced that areas of concern related to illegal gambling included black market, money laundering, match-fixing and child gaming.

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