Are online casino and bingo sites seeing an upside from the lockdown?

James StibbsExternal Consultant - YouGov Sport
June 12, 2020, 2:18 PM UTC

With the absence of much sport to bet on, in this blog we thought we’d look at how other types of gambling are faring. Let’s start by looking at the habits of the British public.

Eight percent of Brits tell us that they placed a bet at an event or a bookmakers in the last year, with 12% telling us that they have done the same over that period but with an online bookmaker. We can assume that the vast majority of these people are betting on sports outcomes.

So how does that compare with the proportion of people gambling online but not on sports?

Well, 4% of the general public have played bingo online in the past 12 months. That compares to 7% of sports bettors who have done the same. That’s not a huge number but neither is it insignificant.

Let’s look at another type of online gambling – casino games and slots. While these are only about as popular as online bingo among the general public - again, 4% of the public have played in the past 12 months – casino games and slots are more popular among sports bettors. More than twice as many (9%) of this segment play these games as the general public.

So has the lockdown in sports helped to nudge more Brits over towards activities like bingo and online casino games and slots?

Let’s look at them individually. First let’s see what the data says about casinos. We track all the main online casino brands and for the purposes of this exercise, we aggregated all their data together, to see performance across the whole sector.

Impression for these brands rose a little during the early part of lockdown but those gains have been lost over time. That has also been the case over a number of other metrics (we measure 16 in total for each brand).

Ad Awareness of these brands has fallen by about a third since mid-February – that’s no surprise given the moratorium on TV and radio advertising. But clearly their presence on direct marketing channels, like online, has helped Ad Awareness stand up to some extent. In fact, it’s now running steadily at just over 3% of the population, which is still significantly higher than awareness at previous points during, for example, 2019 (Ad Awareness for the industry is pretty volatile).

Perhaps as a result of the moratorium and the overall level of advertising, Consideration for these brands is flat, barely shifting at all over the last couple of months. Meanwhile our Current Customer metric (which measures those who have used these brands in the past six months) is exactly where it was at the end of March.

Before we go, let’s take a look at bingo sites and see if the story is any different there. Just as we did with casino brands, we’ve grouped all the prominent online bingo brands together to create a set of aggregate scores which cover the whole sector and give us a perspective on the industry as whole.

Interestingly, the bingo sector mirrors our casino brands almost perfectly. Notwithstanding that it racks up different scores, the patterns of scoring are closely replicated over time, meaning that the fortunes of the two are closely intertwined – perhaps not a huge surprise given the overlap in brands involved.

So what’s our takeaway here? Well, if your casino/bingo brand isn’t picking up tonnes of new business during the lockdown, you’re not alone. The sector (or sectors) as a whole aren’t showing growth. But on the flipside, unlike many industries today, it looks like other metrics are staying steady and, given the circumstances, that has to be good news.

This article previously appeared in EGR

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