The Online Gambling Industry in the UK 2022
In November 2020, the UKGC released statistics that showed that the growth of new casinos has not resulted in a growth in the gambling market. These statistics are taken from the period April 2019 to May 2022. This view that the market has not grown is a very shallow reading of the data as the overall gambling market in the United Kingdom shrank year on year with total gross gaming yield dropping 4.5% from £14.2bn to £10.2bn. While this seems as if the market is in sharp decline, external factors have influenced the decline of 6%, resulting in land-based establishments struggling to survive in the new gambling climate.
The Growth of Lotteries
Statistics have revealed that remote betting, bingo, and casino revenues have grown despite the overall industry decline. While gambling contracted 0.6%, online gaming grew 8.1%. This proves that remote gambling is now the largest combined sector in the UK, worth more than £5.7bn, a massive 39.9% of the total UK gambling market. One of the reasons for this market growth is the continued innovation that online casinos adopt to improve the overall product.
What is driving the market growth?
Several factors influenced the decline in the gambling market, one of which is the slow and steady migration of customers away from land-based casinos. Over the past ten years, players have moved away from land-based casinos to online casinos. Added to the mix are several high-profile sporting events that were canceled or delayed and the lockdowns forced on brick and mortar businesses. This resulted in many land-based casinos closing their doors, hindering local bookmakers, betting shops, and casinos from losing massive revenue.
The Dominance of Online Slots
The convenience of playing casino games or placing sports bets on mobile devices was already applying pressure to land-based gambling businesses. Promotions, odds, and innovation shown by online casinos have increasingly eaten away at those businesses that refuse to adapt.
The ability for online casinos to reward new customers with free spins and other promotions would also have driven growth. In a period where casino players were looking for additional value, online casinos came through with huge bonuses and innovative promotions. The UK Gambling Commission also issued a large number of new remote gambling licenses in 2021 and 2022, which has caused a rise in online casinos in 2022 that has created the risk of over-saturation within the market.
Hurdles for Online Gambling Market in the UK
The future of online gambling is under pressure due to additional taxes being applied and stricter regulations on advertising coming into play. The UKGC has taken these steps to try and find the balance between gambling for real money while protecting vulnerable UK players.
Gambling is one of the oldest forms of entertainment, but it can also be a highly addictive feeling that can lead to gambling addiction. Online casinos must still be profitable to operate in the UK while adhering to local laws. This is key because unregulated players will enter the market if taxes run too high and operations become too challenging to maintain. Combining this with a ban on advertising, players will find it hard to know the difference between legitimate and black casinos.
Covid-19 has affected Industry Statistics for the period April 2020 to March 2021. There has been a lack of and quality of data submissions from some operators; therefore, the latest publication only contains figures for Remote Casino, Betting and Bingo (RCBB), the National Lottery for the period between April 2020 to March 2021. The figures for April 2020 until March 2021 are:
- £6.9 billion Total GGY for Remote Betting, Bingo & Casino Sector (April 2020 – March 2021) This has resulted in an 18.4% increase from April 2019 – March 2020.
- £1.7 billion Primary Contributions from The National Lottery (April 2020 – March 2021). There has been a 4.0% increase from April 2019 – March 2020
- 2,439 Gambling operators in the market (April 2020 – March 2021)reflected a 5.4% decrease from April 2019 – March 2020
- 3,368 Gambling activities licensed (April 2020 – March 2021) reflected a 4.6% decrease from April 2019 – March 2020
The online gambling industry in the UK is looking strong for 2022, but some danger flags shouldn’t be ignored. To ensure that online gaming remains safe for players and attractive to casino operators, communication between the regulators and casino owners needs to improve.
Last Updated on January 20, 2022