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GB market contracts following B2 stake cut

| By Robin Harrison
Figures from the GB Gambling Commission covering the year to March 31, 2020 reveal that revenue from B2 gaming machines (or fixed odds betting terminals) plummeting after maximum stakes for the devices were cut to £2 in April 2019.
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This contributed to gross gaming yield (stakes minus payouts) for market declining marginally, falling 0.6% year-on-year to £14.22bn (€15.83bn/$18.97bn).

The final 11 days of the reporting period also saw land-based gambling venues closed due to novel coronavirus (Covid-19), and the sporting calendar significantly reduced by the pandemic. 

Online gaming, comprising sports betting, bingo and casino, was the biggest contributor to revenue, accounting for £5.68bn of the total, up 8.1%. 

The channel’s growth was driven by a strong performance from online sports betting, for which revenue climbed 15.5% to £2.33bn, though it remained the second largest vertical after casino, for which revenue was up 3.7% to £3.18bn. Bingo, meanwhile, saw revenue grow marginally, rising 0.5% to £176.8m. 

Turning to land-based gambling, and gaming machine revenue dropped 25.6% year-on-year to £2.09bn, after maximum stakes for B2 machines were cut from £100 to £2 in April 2019

This led to yield from the machines plummeting to £12.1m, a 99.0% drop. This was partially offset by growth in revenue for other machine categories, namely B3 machines, for which GGY jumped 39.5% to £1.54bn. 

There was more marginal growth B1 machines, with a maximum stake of £5, for which revenue increased to £214.8m, with yield for category B4, C and D terminals all declining. 

The B2 stake cut contributed to total betting shop revenue falling 26.4% to £2.40bn, which was accompanied by a 7.7% drop in the number of shops open by the end of the year, to 7,681 premises. 

Bingo halls also reported year-on-year declines in revenue, which fell 5.7% to £636.0m, with casino revenue down 4.0% to £1.02bn. This meant that arcades were the only land-based premises to report growth for the year, with revenue up 8.8% to £477.3m. 

The lottery vertical, meanwhile, saw growth across both large society lotteries and the National Lottery. Excluding the Camelot-operated lottery, revenue was up 13.3% to £611.6m, though the total generated for good causes dropped 10.7% to £366.8m.

The National Lottery, on the other hand, generated sales of £7.90bn, comprising £5.45bn in retail sales and £2.46bn online. From this it generated gross yield of £3.40bn, up 10.4%.