The Playing Fee information reveals the results of COVID-19 on gambling habits

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The Gambling Commission has released new data showing how the COVID-19 lockdown has impacted gambling behavior in the UK.

The data reflects the period between March and November 2020 and includes both online gambling and consumer research.

The latest data for November shows growth in online market activity with active accounts up 3% from the previous month and bets up 4%. The gross return on gaming (GGY) has since decreased by 13%.

Slots GGY rose 3% to nearly £ 177m, with the number of bets and the number of active accounts increasing 4% and 1% respectively. The number of bets rose to over 5.2 billion while the number of active accounts rose to 2.8 million, the highest figure within the pandemic.

The number of online slots sessions that lasted longer than an hour also increased by 3% to 2.2 million from October to November, with the average session length increasing by one minute to 22 minutes.

"The data from consumer research continues to show that there is no evidence of a significant or sustained increase in gambling activity in the Covid-19 period in the entire population," said a statement by the Gambling Commission. "However, the study shows links between the effects of the pandemic on people's financial and psychological well-being and the increase in gambling."

The Commission noted that additional operator vigilance was needed during the latest national lockdown, highlighting the return of sport as an area where gambling problems can arise.

People who spend more time at home and in isolation were classified as particularly at risk, as were people who are unsure of their personal or financial circumstances due to the new restrictions.