So much of the gambling and iGaming industry is based on numbers. With sports betting, punters might be placing a bet on which horse which comes in first in a race or how many goals will be scored in a football match. Many casino games such as Pontoon and Roulette are about choosing the right numbers or knowing when to stick or twist on a score. As well as the numbers intrinsic within gambling the industry is a significant part of the overall UK economy to which iGaming contributes big numbers.
Each year the Gambling Commission publish figures that show the Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) from the gambling industry as a whole and this is then broken down into different sectors. The latest figures were published in November 2021. Because much of the industry was affected by lockdowns and public health restrictions due to Covid 19 the latest figures only cover online activity. There can be no doubt that as people had more free time on their hands, they explored new online activities and found new ways to spend leisure time. The Gambling Commission report covers regulated operators in the UK market
Remote Casino, Betting and Bingo (RCBB) accrued £6.9 billion over the six-month period.
Online Casinos dominate the sector accounting for £4 billion in GGY. Online Casinos cover a wide range of activities from traditional table games like roulette and poker to live dealer games and online slots. It is the slots that bring in the greatest share of that revenue at £2.9 billion with 888 casino in UK being one of the principal operators. They have over 1150 different slot games and more than forty-five table games.
Remote sports betting is also very popular. The sector is dominated by two sports: football and horse racing. The total GGY at the remote bookies totalled £2.6 billion. £1.2 billion of that was wagers placed on football and £856.1 million was horse racing. Interestingly, for in-person betting, horse racing is still the number one activity.
The third area covered in this sector is remote bingo which added £189.1 million. Bingo is all about selecting the right numbers and hoping that yours will be called out. The numbers in bingo have got special nicknames like twenty-two being ‘two little ducks’, fifteen being ‘Young and Keen’ and fifty ‘half a century’. These came about so that there was no confusion in a large, noisy bingo hall where fifteen and fifty could be confused with each other. All of the ninety numbers have their own designation.
It is estimated that around 24 million people in the UK take part in online gambling at least once a month. That is 44% of the adult population. The UK Gambling Commission has issued 2,600 gambling companies with more than 3,600 licenses. There are 175 online casinos in the UK.
The online slots don’t only have the highest share of the revenue but are also the most popular. 69% of people who were involved in iGaming played on the slots, with 14% playing roulette and 6% blackjack.
Online gambling is popular across all age groups in the UK. A survey in September 2021, found that nearly 33% of respondents between the age of 45 and 54 said that they had taken part in some form of online gambling in the preceding four-week period. This is a change from the previous year where it was most popular amongst 35 – 44-year-olds.
Studies have shown that more men than women gamble online. The average UK online gambler spends £2.57 a week or £134 a year. The sector which is showing the most growth is the mobile one with 50% of online gambling now taking place on mobile phones with people downloading apps to play.
The largest amount of money won to date on an online slot was £13.2 million on a game called Mega Moolah back in 2015. The original stake was 25p.