Online Gambling Figures in the UK are on the Rise

Jun 07

London, England - The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published figures indicating the performance of the gambling sector for the year ending in September 2018 and it shows that online gambling is still on the rise and is actually dominating other kinds of gambling.

Total revenues during this period were pegged at £14.5bn, which is a 0.4% plunge compared with the year ending March 2018. Of this statistic, online gambling took a lion’s share of nearly 39%, with revenues amounting to £5.6bn. Online casinos saw £3bn revenues, of which about two-thirds came from slots.

Online sports betting was estimated to be at the £2.1bn mark, roughly the same as the preceding period. Overall, online betting rose 3.7%. This was mainly because of a 21% rise in exchange betting up to £342m, and bingo revenues increasing 7.6% up to £177m.

Next in the rankings were retail bookmakers stores, which boasted of revenues amounting to £3.2bn. This was a fall of about £94m from the last reported period. The chief portion of these revenues – 59% – comes from gaming machines.

Gaming machines had a small drop of £5.6m, a downward trend expected to last after the recent clampdown on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs). The government cut down the maximum stake on FOBTs on April 1, 2019, from £100 to £2. This measure was established to help problem gamblers as FOBTs have proven to be very addictive.

Retail bookmakers will likely see a considerable drop in revenues as a result of this move, with some firms saying they will have to shut down many stores. There are already 500 fewer FOBTs in operation since the last recorded period. In all, there are 33,190 FOBTs in operation, which is the lowest level in the last seven years.

The number of retail stores also dipped, dropping to 8,423 locations from an earlier figure of 8,555. This is a substantial decrease from the all-time high of 9,128 in March 2012. Most of the closures came from Gala Coral and Ladbrokes, both of which operate under GVC Holdings.

National Lottery figures were virtually the same, with gross yields of £3bn. Physical casino yield dropped 11.4% down to £859m. The primary reason for this drop was due to an almost 40% dip in baccarat revenues. Physical bingo yield fell 1% down to £355m, with virtual betting dropping 4.2% down to £81.8m.

The UKGC has clamped down on different fronts of late, after convincing the government to cut down stakes for FOBTs. It is now endorsing awareness of problem gambling and social responsibility. It has seen a rise in the number of self-excluders of almost 11%.

The number of people choosing self-exclusion is now more than 1.5 million. There was a 28% increase in age verification checks by operators, compared with the last documented period, Age checks are part of a crackdown on underage gambling. Recent stats indicate worrying trends involving the gambling habits of young people.

There are already voluntary advertising limitations during sports broadcasts, but there have been demands to extend them more. There is pressure on sports teams to halt their kit sponsorship deals with gambling companies.

And finally, demands are increasing for the foreword of a mandatory levy on gambling operators to help fund addiction programs. The current voluntary set-up is not proving to be very efficient, with many operators sidestepping paying contributions.