The figures were supplied through industry research from the Gambling Commission.
While this is a significant rise, the total is 0.8% below the 2019/20 numbers, which mostly occurred pre-pandemic. Despite the increase in the headline numbers since this, the Commission reports that the number of bettors in the sector have fallen.
“Since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted in 2021 and products and opportunities to gamble are available to consumers again, the overall percentage of the adult population who gamble remains lower than it was pre Covid-19 (28%),” said the Commission.
This can be explained by gaming spend increasing to a proportionally larger extent than the number of consumers. However, as the Commission outlines, there are strong signs of increased participation in gambling activities from younger demographics.
“There are signs of a return to gambling amongst younger age groups aged 16 to 24 and amongst males gambling in retail. Industry GGY in 2021-22 for products under the Gambling Act 2005 is just 2 percent below what it was pre-pandemic (2019-20).”
The online sector saw £6.44bn in revenue for the period in question, which is a 6.2% decrease compared to the 2020/21 period. However, this is still a 12.4% rise in comparison to 2019/20.
“The movement of consumers to online has been a gradual and consistent trend which continued through the pandemic, but spend appears to have increased more quickly than the increase in consumers,” said the Commission.
“The biggest change in the gambling landscape is a shift to online play, reflecting our lifestyles in general. Technology and globalisation have meant that gambling is no longer confined to opening hours and largely local events, but instead a 24 hours 7 days a week opportunity and global event-driven marketplace.”
Online casino is responsible for the majority of the revenue at £3.9bn. Breaking this down, £3bn of the total is from slots alone. The second largest contributor to the online sector is remote betting at £2.4bn, wherein betting on football and horse racing led the vertical at £1.1bn and £768.5m respectively.
Revenue from online bingo stood at £183.5m for the year.
The land-based sector has more than doubled in size since pandemic restrictions ended. GGY increased by 110% to £3.5bn between April 2021 and March 2022.
However, the sector remains significantly below its pre-pandemic strength – with revenues 21.5% down from 2019/20. Participation is also down a reduced 8% compared to the pre-pandemic trend.
The GC elaborated on concerns that the recovery that was seen in land-based and retail venues was focused on bettors younger than 24.
“While there were concerns from the industry that the pandemic would have a significant negative impact on the retail landscape, in person participation in gambling has increased in September 2022 compared to September 2021 particularly amongst males and younger adults up to the age of 24 years old.”
Premises and licences
The total number of licensed operators continued its four year decline – falling 0.9% from 2,441 in March 2021 to 2,419 in the same month the next year. The number of operators who do multiple activities fell by one from 369 to 368.
The number of operators licensed for online casino, betting or bingo fell from 599 to 591 in the same time period. Businesses licensed to provide gambling software also fell to 309 from 313.
The number of active premises in Great Britain also continued to decline; falling 3% to 8,308 total active venues. Most of this fall can be explained by the reduction in the number of betting shops. In the time period, the GC’s statistics show that there were 242 less active betting shops than there was the previous year.