Do you know that over 25% of British adults gamble?
The UK National Lottery has generated over £74 billion in revenue over the decade ending in April 2022, according to Statista. Another survey reported that over a quarter of UK adults played the lottery during the first quarter of 2023.
What’s more, of the British population aged 16 years old and over, 44% took part in some form of gambling at least once over the same period. It’s safe to say by looking at stats, more and more of these have carried out their gambling online over the last few years. In fact, almost 14 million Brits took part in online gambling of some kind or other in March 2023 alone.
Let’s have a closer look at some of the market statistics for gambling in the UK, and the updated regulations that control gambling. We’ll place more emphasis on online gambling as the UK’s growing trend is to gamble more remotely in 2023.
The Age and Sex of UK Gamblers
According to UK Gambling Commission statistics, 26% of the UK’s adult population gamble online on occasion.
Of these, the 45- to 54-year-old age group in the UK use online casinos, sportsbooks, and other internet-based gambling platforms the most. A full 35% of this age bracket actively gamble online in 2023. This percentage is 4% higher than the next most active British age group: The 35- to 44-year-old age range sees 31% partake in gambling often.
Overall, during March 2023, 42% of UK adult women gambled, compared to 45% of UK men.
In terms of games, sports betting is one of the most popular in the UK—the country accounts for 23% of Europe’s total sports betting market. Furthermore, betting on real events like sports is 35% more popular in the UK than playing online slots.
Average UK Gambling Habits and Spending
Real event and slots betting both have a gross gambling yield (GGY) of over £200 million for the year ending in March 2023. Over the same period, the largest online gambling operators reported a combined total GGY of £4.9 billion.
A 2022 survey of 1000 male and female Britons of various ages reveals that the average amount spent on gambling weekly is £70 per person. Men are likely to spend more weekly on average than women. 54% of survey participants gamble every week, with 21% gambling once a fortnight. These figures are not due to a lack of access, however, as 85% of surveyed gamblers have apps installed on their mobile devices.
The 2022 survey revealed that 78% of female gamblers and 61% of men believed that UK gambling regulations should be stricter. Bearing this in mind, let’s look at the UK’s more recent changes to the gambling regulations as laid out in the Gambling Act 2005.
UK Online Gambling Regulations
In April this year, the British government released amendments to the 2005 UK Gambling Act via the UK Gambling White Paper. The document places special emphasis on online gambling and access via smartphones and other mobile devices. The aim of the brief is to create a more up-to-date gambling blueprint for the digital age.
The white paper follows five years after the introduction of GamStop. GamStop is the only recognised self-exclusion program in the UK, devised by the Remote Gambling Association (RGA). GamStop allows gamblers who identify potential gambling problems to effectively ban themselves from playing at any UK-based online gambling site registered on the platform for a period of six months to five years.
Since November 2021, every UK-regulated online gambling operator has to list itself on GamStop. As such, self-excluding gamblers effectively rule themselves out of online gambling entirely for the chosen period.
On occasion, self-excluded gamblers could change their minds or take steps to improve their gambling habits. In these instances, the scope that the internet offers means there are other gambling operators that UK players can access. As they remain popular choices among these players and others, Cryptonews has reviewed and tested each casino not on GamStop to help players find a safe and reputable online casino to play at while registered for GamStop.
There were also changes to the way slot games work in the UK recently, with autoplay and increased spin speed features being removed. At the same time (October 2021), slot operators also had to start displaying the player’s total wins or losses for the gaming session on the screen at all times. These changes were brought in to reduce the likelihood of players losing track of how much they had spent during a gaming session, making online gambling safer.
As the statistics show, there is no doubt that online gambling is growing in the UK. While online casinos are becoming increasingly popular and better-regulated, they still have a long way to go to catch up to the popularity of sports betting and the National Lottery.