Online Gambling Continues to Grow

June 4, 2019

In May the UK Gambling Commission published its latest findings on the gambling industry. It releases the statistics twice a year, in May and September, and these latest findings show how the gambling market changed between October 2017 and September 2018.

Rise in remote gambling

A key finding from this data is that online gambling continues to rise and grow in popularity. The latest Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) figure for online gambling is £5.6 billion, an increase of 2.9% from the April 2017 – March 2018 figure.

Slots make up the majority of the revenue brought in from online casino games, as between October 2017 and September 2018 they generated £2.0 billion. This is an increase of 1.7% from April 2017 – March 2018. Online slots continue to be hugely popular, with new sites getting released regularly, including Love Reels and Slotster. Many online casinos now focus on providing a variety of quality instant win games, like slots and jackpots. With playing on-the-go becoming increasingly popular, there is also an emphasis on providing mobile-friendly sites.

Thanks to this rise in remote gambling, the online betting, bingo, and casino sector makes up 39% of the whole market share. Betting in physical stores makes up 22% whilst the National Lottery makes up just over 20%.

Declines in other gambling sectors

Physical arcades, bingos, and casinos generated less than half the GGY that the online market made. With them making up just 2.9%, 4.7%, and 7.4% respectively of the overall market, this seems to suggest more people are taking their gambling online.

This is seemingly further confirmed by the slight drop in the overall Gross Gambling Yield of the UK gambling industry. At £14.5 billion, this was a 0.4% drop from the April 2017 – March 2018 GGY. This seems to indicate that despite upwards online trend, the gambling industry as a whole is finding things tougher.

This is supported by the decline in the number of betting shops (1.5% drop), licensed arcades (5.3% drop), and bingo premises (1.1% drop) compared to March 2018. Unsurprisingly, this has also meant the number of employees in the gambling industry has fallen. The investigation registered 106,670 employees in September 2018, which was a decrease of 1.4% from March 2018.

It’s not all bad news for the offline gambling industry though. The total number of casinos in Britain rose by 1 between March and September 2018, bringing the total to 152. The number of gaming machines (in October 2017 to September 2018) also saw a 2.4% increase from the figure recorded in April 2016 – March 2017. With a grand total of 183,813 gaming machines in the UK, this gambling sector isn’t dead just yet!

A focus on regulations

Ben Haden, the UKGC’s Industry Insight’s Programme Director made a statement on these findings. He said, “despite the marginal decline across the wider gambling industry, the online gambling sector continues to grow. Our role as regulator will continue to see us working to raise standards right across the industry.”

Following a review of the sector, they plan to implement some new introductions and rules. These include strengthened age and ID verification checks to increase customer safety and help protect the more vulnerable customers.

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