The number of poker players in the UK is increasing
According to recently released data from the Gambling Commission, online poker in the UK enjoyed an upbeat period during the closing months of 2020, with numbers surpassing the levels reached in the summer.
After 314,000 active players were recorded in August 2020, traffic dipped to 295,000 in September. However, steady increases in successive months resulted in a figure of 342,000 in November (the latest month for which data has been released).
Another interesting statistic is that, compared with Slots (1%), Casinos/Other (4%), Real Betting (4%) and Virtual Betting (4%), Poker had the biggest increase in activity from October to November (11%).
N.B. The figures above are based on the Gambling Commission’s industry statistics taken from a sample of approximately 80% of the online market.
Clearly, online poker in the UK experienced a boom of sorts which, while not to the same extent as the original explosion that began in 2003, can’t be ignored. Of course, this time around the circumstances that brought about online poker’s increase in popularity is unique, and at some point, we will find ourselves returning to some kind of normalcy that allows people to finally escape the current situation which sees us essentially confined to our homes.
As far as poker is concerned, the question is how long will it be until casinos open and until the major poker operators deem it ‘safe’ to once again host the tours that have proved such a big hit in the UK over the years. All of those players who enjoyed live events and might have just occasionally played online have found themselves able to play only at home for the best part of a year. Numbers have also been boosted by people who are either new to poker – literally picking up the game, joining the likes of GGPoker and finding it a great source of entertainment – or who used to play and have returned. Furthermore, this influx of new and inexperienced recreational players ‘weakening’ the player pool, has galvanised the more serious, skilled players to jump to action – the lure of so much traffic, with busy tables around the clock and teeming, fish-filled tournaments, which in turn have boasted bigger prizes, has been too much to resist.
Ironically, when live events return there’ll be a long-awaited demand for the bricks & mortar experience not only from the casino regulars but also those have only ever played online, all eager for a change of scene. There might initially be a reluctance due to the perceived safety worries that have enveloped society during the pandemic, but players will eventually venture out.
However, even such an exodus isn’t going to cancel out online poker’s mini boom, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the situation remain the same – not only in the UK, but globally – for some time, with the prospect of live poker events still quite distant. There are certainly no plans from the usual suspects to get any tours underway any time soon, so it could be a while yet.
In the meantime, with online poker rooms falling over themselves to retain the numbers they’ve enjoyed thus far in the UK, British poker fans can continue to take full advantage of bustling virtual tables, great value tournaments and the great offers and deals that are out there.