UK gambling market dominated by sports betting on land and online

uk-gambling-commissionLand-based betting remains the single biggest gambling market in the UK, according to the most recent statistics published by the UK Gambling Commission. During the period between April 2012 and March 2013, the UK market’s total gross gambling yield (GGY) amounted to £6.3b, up £0.44b from the previous reporting period (April 2011 to March 2012). Land-based betting captured 51% (£3.19b) of the GGY pie, well ahead of the closest competitor, casino gambling, which claimed only 15% (£961m) of the market. Online gambling of all forms accounted for 13% (£832.1m), with bingo (11%, £711m), arcades (5%, £339m) and lotteries (5%, £285m) bringing up the rear.

The land-based betting figure is skewed by the fact that half its revenue is derived from those controversial fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT). The category B2 machines, whose £100 maximum wagers never fail to get the Daily Mail’s editorial knickers in a twist, generated GGY of £1.55b in the latest reporting period, up £100k from the previous year and up nearly 50% from five years ago. B2 machines accounted for 67% of total machine GGY, up from 56% a year earlier. The number of B2 machines in betting shops declined slightly to 33,209, which is up around 1,800 units from five years ago.

Over the past five years, betting shops’ FOBT revenue has increased 45% while over the counter (OTC) wagering has decreased 11% to £1.48b. Horserace betting revenue has declined over £800m over the last five years, while football wagering has steadily increased. Horseracing GGY enjoyed a slight uptick in the most recent reporting period following four straight years of decline. Football betting GGY also rose in the most recent period, although its five-year trend is subject to swings based on whatever major tournament happens to be occurring.

Betting with UK-licensed operators accounted for £649m (78%) of overall online gambling GGY, rising to £788m (95%) if exchange and pool betting figures are added. Betting also accounted for the vast majority (£19.6b) of overall online turnover (£20.7b), which rose 39% from the previous reporting period. Football led the individual stats for betting turnover (£7.8b) and GGY (£267m). Tennis was second with turnover of £3.95b and GGY of £252m, while horseracing placed third with turnover of £1.9b and GGY of £118m.

Online casino turnover took a huge leap from £512m to £863m while GGY more than doubled to £41.7m. Slots turnover nearly doubled to £385m while slots GGY did double to £24.7m. Online table games turnover went from £238m to £404.7m and GGY more than doubled to £10.3m. Online bingo saw more modest increases in both turnover (£34.1m) and GGY (£2.5m).

Total number of online gambling accounts rose to 16.53m from 15.18m in the 2011-2012 reporting period, while the number of active customer accounts has risen to 4.62m from 3.82m. The Commission notes that many gamblers have accounts with multiple online gambling operators.

The number of individuals employed in the UK’s gambling industry during the reporting period was 107,791, down over 2k in the past year and down nearly 18k from five years ago. The ranks of casino and gaming machine technical employees showed small gains, while all other sectors showed declines. Online gambling employees fell from 5,421 in the previous reporting period to just 4,669.