Internet based gambling accounts of 1/3rd of all betting activities in the United Kingdom, based upon an industry update released by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC). In it, it was revealed that the gross gambling yield (GGY) of gaming operators for the period from April 2015 to March 2016 was £4.5 billion (€5.3 billion/$5.6 billion). In comparison, the National Lottery could generate just £3.4 billion during the same period whereas retail bookmakers (high street betting) brought in £3.3 billion. The GGY from traditional casinos was a mere £1 billion during this period.
The UKGC also provided a breakup of the online gambling industry’s GGY. £2.6 billion alone was generated from online casino games, of which online slot machine-style games contributed a lion’s share of £1.8 billion. Online sports betting in the UK was £1.6 billion. Of this £152 million came from betting exchanges and the remaining amount of £23 million was contributed by pool betting.
Land Based Gaming and Betting Shops Closing?
The report from UKGC also pointed out that there was a decline in the number of betting shops in the United Kingdom over the previous year. In fact, the number of high street betting shops had dropped 1.8% to the current 8,709. The number of gaming machines in the country dropped by a marginal 0.4% to 167,839. The count of B2 gaming machines (fixed odds betting terminals) also saw a slight 0.9% drop to 34,884. Equally worryingly, there was a 4.3% reduction in the number of bingo premises in the country, down to 575 year-on-year as of September 2016. The land based gambling industry in the country seems to be under pressure with a 1.5% reduction in the number of people it employs. Incidentally, half of all employees in the land based gambling industry are occupied in the betting sector.
Online Gambling Focuses On Customer Engagement
There are many reasons for the rapid growth of the online gambling industry. The most obvious ones are that internet based gambling is convenient and cost effective. However, the industry also puts in a lot of effort into using the latest technology to increase the level of customer engagement it offers. At the same time, the industry is taking steps to make gambling far more secure than before since this has been a major concern for customers. The industry is growing at a fast pace, and innovative methods are used to improve the product offering. Customers are clearly responding positively to these steps and are viewing the online gambling as not just a viable but also a better alternative to land based gambling. There is also a greater emphasis on developing responsible gaming habits.
UKGC programme director James Green pointed out that online gaming operators will have to work innovatively in order to stay ahead of their competitors if they aren’t already doing so.
The Overall Growth of the UK Gambling Industry
The gambling industry in the United Kingdom brought in a GGY of £13.6 billion from the month of April 2015 to March 2016. This represented a substantial increase of 20.8% when compared to the previous year. The country’s immensely popular National Lottery contributed a whopping £1.8 billion to charitable causes. This was an increase of 7.2% versus the previous year’s contribution. Large society lotteries also increased their contribution to charitable causes by 10.5%, touching £208 million.
It is clear to see that the gambling industry in the UK, both land based and online, is growing. The laws put in place to regulate the industry have enabled it to develop steadily since they have taken the needs of all parties (operators, gamblers, and the government) into consideration.