According to new figures released this week, online gambling has now become the largest single gambling sector out of all UK gambling activities, accounting for 33% of gambling done in Britain in the last year. The study was conducted by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), with the data collected from between April 2015 – March 2016. Using industry statistics from all UK licensed gambling operators, the UKGC found that online gambling generated a gross gambling yield of £4.5 Billion.
In comparison, the National Lottery generated £3.5 Billion, high street betting generated £3.3 Billion and traditional casinos generated £1 Billion. This makes online gambling the highest grossing sector of the UK gambling industry, with this being the first time it has been documented by an official study.
Online Gambling Is King Among UK Players
Online gambling may be the biggest form of gambling in the UK, but what are the most popular games within online gambling? Thankfully, the UKGC has gone to the trouble of finding out the gross gambling yield of the six most popular online gaming genres. Of the £4.5 Billion generated by online gambling:
- £2.6 Billion came from casino games
- £1.8 Billion came from online slots
- £1.6 Billion came from sports betting
- £152 Million came from betting exchanges
- £153 Million came from bingo
- £26 Million came from pool betting
It's no surprise to most online players that slots, casino games and sports betting dominated the online gambling market, with the gap between sports betting and its nearest competitor, betting exchanges, spanning over £1.5 Billion. It's unlikely that any of these top forms of online gambling are likely to be overtaken any time soon.
Other Bits Of Data
The UKGC also highlighted a host of other interesting facts about the state of the overall gambling industry from the study. All the data mentioned represents the gambling industry between April 2015 – March 2016 unless stated otherwise:
- Overall, the gambling industry as a whole generated a gross gambling yield of £13.6 Billion
- The National Lottery increased its contribution to its good causes by 7.2% from last year, to a total of £1.8 Billion
- Other large society lotteries raised £208 Million for good causes, an increase of 10.5% from last year
- There are 8,709 betting shops on Britain's high streets as of September 2016, with a 1.8% decrease from March 2015
- High street gaming machines were also down by 0.4% from last year, totaling 167,839 units
- Bingo locations were also down, with 575 premises open in September 2016, down by 4.3% from March 2016
- There were 104,896 people employed in Britain's gambling industry, which was down 1.5% from March 2015
The Future Of The UK Gambling Industry
The success of online gambling within the UK gambling industry is great news, but it is having demonstrable knock on effects on the rest of the industry. The decrease in high street betting shops and bingo locations is very likely caused by a migration of players to online alternatives. This has also caused an decrease in employees of the gambling industry, as the main source of employment shifts to online casinos, which are more automated and so require less staff to handle the increasing player base.
Even with these shifts within the industry, it'll be interesting to see how gambling operators react in order to handle the migration of their players online. Will we see more high street operators putting more focus into their online services, or will there be a push by operators to get players back into the high street stores? Hopefully, the UKGC will keep up their recent trend of in depth studies published to the public, so we can continue to track the gambling industry as it becomes increasingly dominated by the online sector.