UK online gaming yield up despite overall market decline

30 May 2019

Gross gambling yield for the UK’s online gaming sector climbed 2.9% to £5.6bn in the 12 months to September 2018, despite the wider gambling market seeing a decline.

Total gross gambling yield (GGY) for the UK amounted to £14.5bn during the period, down by 0.4% on the comparative 12 months from April 2017 to March 2018, according to a new report by the Gambling Commission of Great Britain.

This was partly due to a decrease in the amount of land-based facilities in the UK, with the total number of betting shops down by 1.5% to 8,423, licensed arcades falling 5.3% to 1,639 and bingo premises dropping 1.1% to 650.

There was some positive news for the land-based sector, with one new casino opening in the period, pushing the total number of these facilities to 152, while the number of gaming machines in the UK also increased 2.4% to 183,813.

Despite the drop in betting shop numbers, non-remote betting was the largest contributor to land-based GGY, with this amounting to £3.20bn, down from £3.30bn in the previous reporting period.

Casinos place second with GGY of £1.08bn, a decline on the £1.18bn, while bingo GGY slipped from £682.8m to £677.8m and arcades from £427.5m to £421.6m.

In comparison, online gaming continues to see significant growth, with GGY for the remote betting, bingo and casino sector rising from £5.5bn to £5.6bn, making it by far the largest source of gambling income in the UK. Remote gaming is now responsible for 38.8% of the UK market, up 1.2% on the previous period.

Online casino GGY amounted to £3.0bn in the period, with this total boosted by a 1.7% increase in slots GGY to £2.0bn. Remote betting, dominated by football and horse racing, posted GGY of £2.5bn.

“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,” the Commission’s programme director for industry insight, Ben Haden, said.

The UK National Lottery, meanwhile, saw its GGY dip slightly from £3.008bn to £2.998bn. However, contributions to good causes increased by 0.3% to £1.5bn during the period.

Other lotteries across both the remote and land-based markets experienced a rise in GGY from £507.3m to £517.8m, with contributions to good causes also up 5.1% to £314m – a record for the sector.

As of 30 September 2018, there were a total of 2,757 operators licensed by the Gambling Commission, of which 351 operate across more than one sector.