The pastime of placing a bet is alive and well in the United Kingdom with strong numbers indicating that all manner of betting activity is going strong in the regulated market. The industry not only provides a diversion for millions, it also employs a great many people. According to a recent government report, the gambling industry in the UK employed over 104,800 people in the period between April 2014 and March 2015. This number excludes the National Lottery, but includes Society lotteries.
Some of the most profitable venues for purveyors over the study period were the 8,819 betting shops generating a gross gambling yield (GGY) – the amount retained by operators after the payment of winnings but before the deduction of the costs of the operation – of £3,249m. Of this, £1,665m was generated through 34,685 gaming machines in betting shops. Turnover – sales before winnings or expenses were deducted – was an astounding £9,590m.
The June 2016 UKGC report states that 719 online casino licences were held by 427 online casino operators such as 888casino as of September 2015. Remote gaming was broken down into two sections, those numbers occurring before implementation of the Gambling Act, and those after, meaning we’ll have to wait a few months to see more comprehensive results for comparison to other sub-sectors.
The 148 land casinos saw an overall non-remote turnover of £7,317m. This turnover included play on some 2,822 machines. Nearly 21 million customer visits were recorded. Bingo parlours saw £1,115m in turnover with a GGY of £662m.
More current numbers and trends, with full data ending March 2016 show some surprising results in regard to demographic participation in certain areas; where the greatest volume of activity is (National Lottery included) the age of the most active gamblers, and the level of low risk gamblers in different age brackets.
Only about 1 percent of participation was in online slots and instant win games, which have certifiably better odds than the activity with the most participation, which was National lottery draws with nearly one in three people participating. The least “popular” betting mode was spread betting with about .2 percent of the populace taking part.
When the National lottery is again removed from the equation we see that of 61% responding to a UKGC omnibus survey by Populus, the age group most likely to bet was 45-54 year-olds at 15%, followed by a tie at 13% by 25-34, and 35-44 year-olds. Perhaps most interesting, and contrary to what many portray about younger gamblers, of those identified as “low risk” based on gambling participation in the 4 weeks previous to the surveys – the number of low risk gamblers in the 18-24 age group was twice as high as the 45-54 year-old respondents, who were the second least-likely to exhibit risky behaviours.
The UKGC 2016 Facts and Figures release can be downloaded in PDF format. All other statistics including surveys were compiled from Statista.com with an ultimate source of the UKGC.