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Lockdown Stats UK: Gambling & Entertainment spending surges

30-second summary:

  • Data shows that home entertainment, such as online gaming, video streaming and gambling has increased significantly during the most recent UK lockdown.
  • Online streaming transactions increased by 62%, gambling revenue went up by 87% and the amount being spent on PC and console games went up by 19%.
  • We gain insights into entertainment to see why these changes to our spending habits and priorities have changed and how brands have adapted to lockdown measures.

For many of us, the coronavirus pandemic has put things on hold. From socialising with friends to sports events and even working arrangements – the UK lockdown has made an enormous impact on our lives and how we live it.

While we’ve been spending more time than ever in the comforts and safety of our homes, we’ve seen panic buyers, toilet roll shortages, Tiger King binges, the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and much more, so how have our priorities changed and has our spending been impacted?

What’s changed throughout the lockdown?

During the UK’s lockdown, the majority of the public currently residing in the UK have had to make significant changes to their day to day lives. While it can be expected that there have been changes to the way we’ve been spending and saving our money – there have also been significant changes to the way we’ve kept ourselves entertained too.

1. Online streaming services

Online platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video and Now TV have seen increases in the number of transactions by up to 62% per brand. As well as this, newcomer Disney+ couldn’t have been released at a better time to keep children and adults alike entertained as one day after the lockdown was announced, their online streaming platform was launched.

  • Netflix (↑6%)
  • Disney+ (↑∞)
  • Now TV (↑15%)
  • Prime Video (↑62%)

*Number of transactions

2. Gaming subscriptions and eShop purchases

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More time at home meant more gaming for avid and even more casual gamers, as eShops and subscriptions saw a massive increase of 19% in the amount being spent on PC and console games. Hardly surprising since in addition to lockdown happening, many long-awaited game releases happened, including – Animal Crossing, Resident Evil 3 and The Last of Us: Part II.

  • Nintendo (↑230%)
  • XBOX (↑95%)
  • Playstation (↑32%)

*Total amount

3. Online casino bets and bingo

While live sports events and betting took a hit as many events and games were cancelled due to lockdown, other gambling websites such as casino and bingo sites reported an 87% increase in the amount being spent overall. While it is unclear as to whether or not people who would usually bet on live events suddenly made the switch – the industry did see a massive difference in their revenue over lockdown when compared to the previous period.

  • Mecca Bingo (↑47%)
  • Jackpot Joy (↑351%)
  • 888 Games (↑546%)

*Total amount

What does this tell us about our spending?

The industries most impacted by the lockdown mainly involved days out and leisure activities including cinema and theatre tickets, transportation costs and eating out expenses. And while these some of these industries most affected by the coronavirus pandemic have managed to bounce back with help from things such as the Eat Out to Help Out scheme; entertainment has and continues to be on the up. Along wit pay later retail finance, home improvements and DIY, as well as bikes and biking accessories have seen an increase in popularity.

While it isn’t hard to see why exactly we’ve spent so much money on entertainment while we’ve been left to our own devices – is there another reason behind it? What’s the correlation between these three industries, which means they’ve seen more of an increase in sales more than others?

More ‘thrill-seeking’ entertainment from home

During the pandemic, around 1 in 4 UK adults admitted that they felt lonely during the lockdown. And while we were spending so much of our time indoors, isolated from friends, family and even work colleagues to socialise with, we could assume that many of us were spending our money on more thrilling activities at home, such as gambling and gaming.

And what’s the connection between these and feeling down during lockdown you might ask? Well, winning can be associated with a rush of serotonin, making us feel happier – which is much needed during periods of stress, worry or even boredom.

Online has been the safer option

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The internet is a marvellous thing, especially during times like these. It has allowed friends, family and even work colleagues to connect and be present across the country while we stayed in the comfort and safety of our own homes.

And while we were instructed to stay and work from home as sporting events were cancelled, shops, casinos and pubs closed, the internet has held a vital role in not only keeping us connected but also keeping us entertained.

Socialising has been transformed into virtual quizzes instead of going to the pub, with office culture now being sustained with the help of Zoom calls and Slack. Needless to say that many shoppers feel safer ordering clothes and food online as opposed to in the shops – and gambling online instead of visiting local betting shops, bingo halls and even casinos.

Although ultimately given a choice in normal circumstances, many wouldn’t opt for online shopping, gambling and socialising, during lockdown the internet has helped us to stay safe while keeping some grasp on a portion of normality.

Betting has decreased with the suspension of sports events

Sporting games have long since made a comeback with the return of the Premier League back at the beginning of September and the NBA across the pond in July. However, at the beginning of lockdown, many sporting events were cancelled, meaning that Betting shops online and on the high-street suffered as a result.

How have businesses adapted to these changes?

With the increase in demand for things such as streaming platforms and online gaming, businesses have had to adapt quickly but minimally. Instead of visiting stores in person or going to the cinema to catch the newest releases, many companies have provided straight to streaming and game store options for their customers.

While a dabble in a game of bingo or round of roulette here, and there doesn’t give cause for concern to some. There have been many calls for tighter restrictions on gambling policies for the UK public as the temptation for causal gamblers, and recovering addicts could be amplified by an increase of more downtime at home.

In response to concerns, the Gambling Commission in the UK has instructed ‘tighter online gambling measures to protect consumers during lockdown’. Issuing tighter affordability checks as well as ensuring there are restrictions on bonus offers and measures to prevent reverse withdrawals.

What do I do if I have a gambling problem?

While some may gamble responsibly, others may struggle – particularly in times of a crisis, especially those who may be recovering from a gambling addiction and find it difficult resisting to temptation while spending more time at home.

If you do believe that you require help with a gambling problem or are finding it difficult to cope with amounting debts from gambling, then get in contact with BeGambleAware or StepChange for free, specialised support and advice.

Sources:

*Sample data taken from anonymous Fablious open banking data, from 324 users over the period of 12/11/2019 until 23/03/2020 compared to 23/03/2020 until 02/08/2020.

**Buy now pay later sample data taken from anonymous Fablious open banking data, from 351 users over the period of 20/05/2020 until the 02/08/2020.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much more did people spending during the UK’s lockdown on gambling?

Online casinos and bingos saw a massive increase in the amount of money that Fablious users were spending on their sites. Through the end of March until the beginning of August, collectively, users spent 87% more of their money gambling.

How much more did people spend on gaming?

The total amount being spent on PC and games consoles during the lockdown increased by 19%, with Fablious users spending 230% more with Nintendo on consoles and games.

How much more did people spend on online video streaming?

During the pandemic, online video streaming platforms such as Netflix, Prime Video and NowTV, Fablious users made 26% more transactions than they did pre-lockdown.

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