Online gambling still king of the UK gambling mountain


online-gambling-dominates-uk-marketOnline gambling remains the dominant engine of the overall UK gaming industry, according to new figures from the national regulator.

On Thursday, the UK Gambling Commission released the latest installment of its twice-yearly snapshot of the UK gambling industry. The latest report, covering the 12 months spanning April 2016 and March 2017, show gross gambling yield (GGY) of £13.7b, up 1.8% from the report covering April 2015 to March 2016.

Online gambling sites (excluding lottery operators) produced GGY of £4.68b, up 10.1% from the year before. Online gambling accounted for the largest slice of the overall GGY pie, rising 1.5 points to 34%.

Casino products (including poker) accounted for 56% of online GGY, easily eclipsing betting (37.1%), bingo (3.5%), exchange betting (2.8%) and pool betting (0.7%).

Slots accounted for nearly two-thirds (64.5%) of online casino GGY, followed by table games (15.8%), ‘other’ games (12.3%), card games (12.1%) and poker (5.9%). Online betting was predictably dominated by football and horseracing, which together accounted for 51% of the total.

Online active customer accounts improved by one-quarter to 28.87m, but average revenue per account fell 12% to £162.

Unfortunately, online gambling also dominated the dreaded ‘social responsibility’ category, accounting for nearly 96% of all customer self-exclusions, as well as 77.6% of breaches of those self-exclusions.

However, the UKGC notes that individual customers have the option of barring themselves from a vast number of individual gambling sites, and thus the true numbers of affected individuals may be significantly lower.

Switching to the land-based realm, betting GGY inched up 1% to £3.35b, representing 24% of the overall pie. The overwhelming bulk of this (£3.19b) came via off-course betting.

The total number of off-course betting premises across the UK as of September 2017 was 8,502, down 3.9% from March 2017, and marking the fourth consecutive year of declines. Four betting brands control 87.2% of all betting shops, led by William Hill (27.9%), Ladbrokes (20.4%), Betfred (19.7%) and Gala Coral (19.2%).

Off-course over-the-counter betting GGY totaled £1.39b, while gaming machines claimed £1.8b. Machine GGY was 3.1% higher year-on-year despite the total number of machines falling 3% over that span.

Land-based casino GGY shot up 16.5% to £1.16b, however, it should be noted that the previous year’s figure was 16.5% lower than the year before that, so this is more of a course correction. Table game GGY of £956.9m was dominated by American roulette (37.1%), punto banco (19.5%) and blackjack (18.9%), while casino gaming machines added £206.7m.

As for the remaining verticals, the National Lottery had a shite year, with sales down 9.1% to £6.92b and GGY falling 12.8% to £2.98b. Retail bingo was flat at £687m, with 46.3% of that coming via gaming machines in bingo halls.