It is interesting to read the gambling industry appear to be celebrating a 25% decline in consumer spend on gambling between April 2019 and April 2020. A trend that would also directly imply a 25% drop in revenue for the last month.
Based on this report from The Financial Times, the London Business School analysis of UK household spend also raises further questions. Firstly, the 25% drop would actually seem unsurprising, given professional sport around the world has been cut by 90%+ during the pandemic. Whilst the numbers are likely to be used by the gambling industry as evidence gambling has reduced during the pandemic, it would be good to see actual £ spend numbers.
Furthermore, given the aforementioned drop in sports, the 25% ‘decline’ presumably means by default casino/slots spend is actually up. The proportional spend/mix that gambling is having as part of total household spend would also be interesting to understand.
The report also throws out some interesting rises, for example a greater spend on holidays during a pandemic would require further investigation as this just bizarre.
It is vital to make clear that overall in the UK, there has been a decline of 40% to 50% in the spending of British households during the Covid-19 crisis. The fall is mainly concentrated in services such as retail, restaurants and transport. Of greatest context to gambling spend is the fact that income reductions have become far more frequent, with a decline of around 30%. The percentage of borrowers facing financing issues has increased significantly on things like credit cards and loans, with many people taking mortgage holidays, which could potentially see greater spending allocated to gambling.
During this pandemic, income inequality has surged, with the most economically vulnerable groups experiencing the biggest challenges. Millions of people have and will lose their jobs. The UK is set for the biggest economic challenge in a lifetime. It’ll be interesting to see how the gambling industry recovers.