The United Kingdom has one of the most liberal gambling markets around the world, meaning that residents of the country are able to access various gambling options easily. Yet, despite this being the case, it’s the online gambling world that has seen the most growth – in fact, it’s the only one that has seen any sort of growth recently.
For the first time ever, gaming machines that can be found within betting shops across the country, have seen their share of the market go into decline.
It was on Thursday that the Gambling Commission of the UK released figures relating to the 12-month period ending September 2018. Within that time period, operators holding a license within the UK managed to generate a gross gambling yield (GGY) that amounted to £14.5 billion. This, the Gambling Commission says, represents a 0.4% decline on the 12-month period ending March 2018.
Even though that’s true, the online gambling world was unaffected by this, recording gains that saw it claim a total of £5.63 billion of that GGY. It also recorded a market share of 38.8%, which is a rise from the previous period’s number of 37.1%. Of that figure, online casino gaming contributed £3 billion of such (two-thirds of this coming from online slot games). The figure was particularly unmoving for the online racebook and sportsbook sector, drawing in £2.1 billion of the overall total, the online gambling sector as a whole was up 3.7%. This was due to both exchange betting and bingo seeing improvements by 21% and 7.6%, respectively.
The country’s land-based bookies came in second position, recording £3.2 billion in GGY, which is a figure that has dropped by about £94 million in comparison to the previous period. And even in this respect, gaming machines continued to contribute the most of bookies’ GGY, although even this figure fell by £5.6 million.
Affect of the Reduction in Maximum Betting Stakes?
While there could have been some apprehension over the government’s announcement of the reduction in maximum betting stakes on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), it’s key to note that the decline came prior to that law coming into effect. It was only on April 1 of this year that those regulations became effective.
By the end of the period to September 2018, it was reported that a total of 33,190 betting machines were in operation, which is a figure of over 500 less than in the period up to March 2018. That also marks the lowest number of such being in action in the last seven years ago.
The same can be said about land-based betting shops, with a new low recorded of 8,423 in operation. That is a reduction from the 8,555 from the period until September 2018. When you compare this to the market high that was reported in March 2012 of 9,128, the numbers are quite startling. The vast majority of these shop closures came under the ownership of Ladbrokes and Gala Coral.
Looking into some of the other gambling options within the UK, sales and GGY of the National Lottery remained on the flat and even, while land-based casino GGY saw a decline to £859 million. The same is true of land-based bingo GGY, which saw a decline of 1%. Meanwhile, remote virtual betting saw a slip of 4.2%, declining to £81.8 million.