The UK is famous for many things: Tea, biscuits, a glorious history, and, of course, punting. After all, betting on horse racing is many a Briton’s favourite pastime, including Her Majesty the Queen. To illustrate the UK’s love of chance, we put together a list of 14 gambling statistics for the UK. Brick-and-mortar casinos and bookies are giving way to online houses of odds, the problems gambling enthusiasts are facing are growing, and picking the winning horse or hitting the jackpot online is easier than ever. Let’s walk you through the most prominent UK gambling statistics.
14 Telling Gambling Statistics for UK Players
Editor’s Choice – Top Gambling Statistics UK:
- Gambling spending increased by up to 16% during the COVID-19 lockdown.
- Online gambling dominates the gambling sector with a 39.9% share of all gambling activity.
- The National Lottery contributions to good causes reached their highest figure to date.
- Sports gambling statistics show a 2992% increase in esports betting.
- Problem gamblers make up 0.5% of the UK’s adult population.
- As of March 2020, only 3% of problem gamblers in the UK get help.
1. Scotland and the South East gambled the most, increasing spending by 16%.
The pandemic forced people to find new ways of spending their leisure time. As such, it’s no wonder that the relevant statistics showed a significant increase in gambling spending during the lockdown. When we split the numbers by region and compare their respective gambling facts and statistics, we can see some clear variations. From mid-March to mid-June 2020, the increase in gambling spending was the highest in the South East and Scotland (16%), followed by the Midlands (13%), Wales, South West, and Northern Ireland (12%), with North England in last place(9%).
2. The total GGY for the gambling industry decreased by only 0.6% year-over-year.
(UK Gambling Commission)
From April 2019 to March 2020, the gambling industry earned £14.2 billion. This is a mere 0.6% decrease compared to the same period in 2018 and 2019. That’s about £84.1 million less in the operators’ wallets, but it’s far from a sharp downturn. The UK Gambling Commission’s research included both brick-and-mortar and online casinos, so the UK gambling industry statistics show that the increase in online gambling made up for much of the land-based losses.
3. The total GGY for gaming machines decreased by 25.6%.
(UK Gambling Commission)
The UK Gambling Commission’s data tells us that gaming machine action decreased by more than a quarter. Namely, casinos closed during the lockdown onset at the end of March didn’t provide much opportunity for in-house gambling. The total machine GGY fell to £2.1bn, as slots are not the best choice of entertainment during a rising pandemic.
4. Online gambling dominates the sector with a 39.9% revenue share.
(UK Gambling Commission)
Looking at online gambling statistics in the UK, we can conclude that online casinos now definitively lead the market. Even before the lockdown, they managed to generate £3.2 billion in GGY – an 8.1% increase compared to the previous reporting period. The stats show that slots were the top online game. Online betting in the UK brought in £2.3 billion, with football and horse racing as the biggest earners. Remote bingo players contributed 0.9% to the growth, with £176.8 million. All in all, the British online casino business is flourishing.
5. The National Lottery contributions dropped only slightly during 2020.
(UK Gambling Commission, The National Lottery)
Internet gambling statistics also provide insight into the good playing games of chance can bring, not just to us, but also those less fortunate. The National Lottery’s donations to good causes in 2020 stayed almost as high as they were the previous year (a 4.07% decrease from 2019, or £72.9 million), despite the general drop in gambling activity. The funds were shared between health-related, educational, environmental, and other charitable causes.
6. 0.4% of the UK’s adult population are problem gamblers.
(UK Gambling Commission, Finder)
According to the UK Gambling Commission, 0.4% of the UK’s adult population has gambling problems. Of all the people who gamble in the UK, 7% reported that they use gambling to earn money for daily survival. UK problem gambling statistics show that 4.2% of UK residents have experienced problems linked to gambling, no matter if they gamble or someone close to them gambles.
7. Less than 3% of problem gamblers in the UK get help.
According to the National Gambling Treatment Service survey, the numbers are precise and devastating; only 9,008 people received treatment for gambling addiction 2020, which accounts for less than 3% of gambling addicts in the UK. The program BeGambleAware is focusing on helping those who need to regain control on a national level. However, these gambling disorder statistics show that the work is only just beginning.
8. 1.3% of UK citizens from the 25-34 age group are problem gamblers.
One hugely important metric to look at when assessing the distribution of problem gamblers is age. It is estimated that as of March 2020, the most significant percentage of those with gambling addiction or related disorders were individuals aged 25 to 34. The National Gambling Treatment Service also tells us that over 39% of UK gamblers in treatment are in that same age group. The second biggest at-risk group are people aged 16-24, as 1% of respondents from that bracket stated they are facing problems.
9. Gambling Statistics for the UK show a decrease in profits from horse-race betting.
(Statista, the British Horseracing Authority)
The revenue from off-course horse race betting fell from last year’s £4.19 billion to approximately £3.95 billion. For comparison, in 2009, the income was £5.74 billion. The trend has been constant for over a decade now. What’s more, the pandemic brought the prize money down ever further, according to the British Horseracing Authority.
10. The betting turnover for dog racing is slowly increasing.
Gambling in the UK, as statistics show, depends a great deal on sports betting. Speaking of which, even though dog race betting has been decreasing over the years, it recently experienced a small resurgence. The annual turnover in 2019 and 2020 reached $988 million in the UK. This represents a 5% rise compared to the previous period. Looking at the stats, the golden era for dog racing was between April 2008 and March 2009, when the annual proceeds amounted to nearly $1,6 billion.
11. The GGY for football betting amounted to over £342 million.
Apart from horses and dogs, British punters love to place their bets on football. However, sports gambling statistics in the UK reveal a fall in gambling revenue between April 2019 and March 2020. Namely, football bets amounted to “just” £324 million, as opposed to the previous year’s total of £410 million. According to the statistics, UK sports betting is on a downturn.
12. The number of betting shops in the UK fell by 7.7% between March 2019 and March 2020.
(UK Gambling Commission)
While online betting is on the rise, the betting shop business is hard-hit by the pandemics. As of March 2020, the total number of betting shops in the UK was 7,681, which is a decrease from March 2019, according to the United Kingdom Gambling Commission survey. It remains to be seen what kind of toll the pandemic has taken on this number, as well.
13. Esports betting increased by 2,922% during the pandemic.
(Forbes, UK Gambling Commission)
The UK Gambling Commission’s sports gambling statistics reported astonishing growth for esports betting, with a massive growth of nearly 3,000%. This surge, while a sharp contrast to other struggling sectors, is understandable. While traditional sports events are unable to take place, esports suffered no such constraints, and punters turned to virtual sports. In the course of one year, esports betting revenue skyrocketed from £50,223 (as of March 2019) to £4,616,610 in May 2020. The operators’ real challenge would be to retain the customers after the pandemic is over.
14. Online slots accounted for 69.3% of the total online gambling GGY.
(UK Gambling Commission, London Post)
Even though we still don’t have relevant gambling statistics for UK machine gaming in 2020, the study by the UKGC tells us that online slots were the most played game in online casinos in the UK, with a share of 69.3% in the total GGY. Online roulette in the UK accounted for 13.5% of the total revenue, while blackjack’s share was only 6.1%.