After months of lockdown due to the coronavirus crisis, casinos all around the UK welcomed thousands of customers last month.
This came after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson allowed the return of indoor socialising and dining from May 17, with cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, galleries, amusement arcades, bingo halls, casinos, bowling alleys and snooker halls opening up again.
Last month, the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) welcomed the reopening of gambling venues.
BGC chief executive Michael Dugher said it was a “fantastic boost” for customers, staff and the UK economy which had been hit by the pandemic that swept the UK in March 2020.
“It’s great news that most of the UK’s casinos are finally able to re-open – and is a testament to the hard work that staff have put in making them Covid-secure,” Dugher added.
The lockdown saw a significant uptick in online gambling, according to a study by the University of Bristol.
Regular gamblers were more than six times more likely to bet online during the coronavirus pandemic compared to before the health crisis, according to the researchers.
The analysis revealed that although men and women gambled less during lockdown, partly due to betting shops being closed, some forms of gambling increased.
Online usage on sites such as Mystino, including slots, bingo and casino games, grew six-fold among regulars. The study also showed that during a lockdown men were three times more likely than women to gamble more than once a week.
“This study provides unique real-time insights into how people’s attitudes and gambling behaviour changed during lockdown, when everyone was stuck inside and unable to participate in most social activities,” said lead author Professor Alan Emond.
“The findings reveal that although many forms of gambling were restricted, a minority of regular gamblers significantly increased their gambling and betting online.”
The study also found that respondents who gambled occasionally before the start of the pandemic were found to be more than twice as likely to bet online during lockdown.
Concerns over another wave of coronavirus hitting the UK could lead to more casino fans embracing online gambling.
A former chief scientific adviser to the government has today said the current COVID-19 figures are “evidence of another wave appearing”.
Sir David King told Sky News: “[There are] 5,300 new cases of the disease per day in the United Kingdom and we’re up about 2,000 on last week.
“Now we’ve been discussing whether or not we’re going into a serious third wave and I don’t think we can possibly wait any longer. This is evidence of another wave appearing.”
It comes as health secretary Matthew Hancock today said that the government is “absolutely open” to delaying the final lifting of England’s Covid lockdown on 21 June if cases of the so-called Indian variant continued to rise.
A total of 5,341 infections were recorded on Sunday 6 June while another four people died within 28 days of a positive Covid test, according to official figures provided by the Office for National Statistics.