Various forms of regulated gambling exist in the United Kingdom, such as sports betting, lottery, casinos, and online gambling. Many people engage in the activity due to its fun and thrilling nature. Although gambling also has some harmful effects, such as addiction and debt.
The government regulates the UK’s gambling industry, amounting to billions in gross yielded. The country generated an estimated £14.26 billion in gross gambling yield in 2018-2019.
Today we will look at the statistics and facts about gambling in the UK.
- Gambling losses were estimated to be about £412.9 million for the government in 2023.
- Almost £3.19 million were earned by UK gambling sites during 2018 – 2019.
- More than 420,000 Brits lose £2,000 in online gambling yearly
- UK’s football bets revenue declined by 48.39% in 2020-2021.
- In 2021, the value of the UK’s sports betting market was $5.4 billion.
- Based on the NHS Long Term Plan, the UK government envisions having 15 gambling clinics by 2023 and 2024.
- 31% of UK gamblers sought treatment for mental health issues in 2021.
How Much Do the British Lose on Gambling?
The government’s 2023 economic analysis estimated that the cost of harm associated with gambling is equivalent to £412.9 million.
The most recent figures for 2022 combine for approximately £1.05 to £1.77 billion in losses.
Gambling health impacts were equal to £635 million – £1,355.5 million from 2021 to 2022.
The UK government studies linked gambling to mental and physical harm, stating the following:
- Gambling-related suicides: between 117-496 deaths (£241.1 to £961.7 million)
- Depression: an estimated 69,099 people (£508 million)
- Alcohol dependence: an estimated 20,658 people (£3.5 million)
- Illicit drug use: an estimated 628 people (£1.8 million)
These values proved that the UK’s gambling industry is massive, as is the number of people involved.
Let’s dive deeper and explore these statistics.
Online Betting in UK Statistics
While the pandemic might be online gambling’s most significant catalyst, the industry has continued since the early 2000s. UK’s Gambling Act of 2005 helped the country’s gambling industry. The mandates also resulted in the licensing system for online casinos.
The initiative was vital in developing the UK’s online betting scene.
Below are some stats about online gambling in the UK.
1. During 2021, 14% of online bettors in the UK prefer to wage on the National Lottery.
National Lottery was the most-wagered online gambling activity in the UK during 2021. Among the 11 types of gambling activity, 14% of Brits bet on the online National Lottery, while 8.3% bet on other Lotteries.
The data also suggested that 4.9% preferred sports betting, while 2.6% participated in Horse Racing.
2. British online gamblers aged 45-54 were estimated to be around 32% in 2021.
In September 2021, the distribution of UK online gamblers per age group suggested that 32.8% were aged 45-54. Compared to 2019, only 23.9% of bettors were aged 45-54. The data also indicated that only 15.8% were 16-24 years old in 2021.
3. UK gambling sites earned an estimated £3,190 million from October 2018 – September 2019.
(The Edinburgh Reporter)
The 2021 article stated that online gambling operators earned £3,190 million from late 2018 to 2019 due to UK’s online market.
Reports suggested that the increase was due to the layoff of almost 8,000 employees in the UK’s gambling industry from March to September 2019 (from 106,000 employees to 98,174).
4. 420,000 British gamblers lose around £2,000 online annually.
(The Guardian, BeGambleAware)
Studies suggested that more than 420,000 online gamblers from the UK lose at least £2,000 a year.
The report stated that the losses are most likely linked to the country’s deprived areas. 20% of the UK’s poorest regions supply 25% of the gambling industry revenue. The 2022 study covered 37.5% of the UK’s online gaming market.
50,000 individuals playing virtual slot machines were found to have lost £5,000 on average while playing a cumulative 192 hours in a year.
Sports Betting in UK Statistics
What sports fan doesn’t love laying the odds in favor of their preferred teams? Do fans in the UK dabble in sports betting as well? Let’s find out!
5. 5.3% of the UK’s gambling population was into sports betting in 2020.
From 2017-2021 (September), around 5-6% of British gamblers participated in sports betting.
6.6% of UK gamblers were into sports betting in 2017 and 2018. The percentage grew to 6.9% in 2019 but declined to 5.3% in 2020. 2021 saw the numbers go up to 5.6%.
6. During 2020-2021, revenue from football bets declined to £0.64 billion in the UK.
Statista stated that sports betting revenue during the pandemic was at an all-time low. Horse Racing was recorded at £1.61 billion during 2020-2021. Dog Racing amounted to £0.37 billion. Soccer was recorded at £0.64 billion.
In comparison, betting revenue from 2019-2020 amounted to the following:
- Horse Racing: £4 billion (59.75% decrease)
- Dog Racing: £1.01 billion (63.37% decrease)
- Football: £1.24 billion (48.39% decrease)
7. The UK’s sports betting market amounted to $5.4 billion in 2021.
The British sports betting market value was $5.4 billion during the pandemic. This was a 17% decline from the previous year’s total of $6.5 billion.
The UK also led the whole European sports betting market with a 23% hold on the industry.
8. Football is the Brits’ most preferred sport to bet on, at 45% of their gambling population.
Studies showed that 45% of respondents regularly bet on football matches. Horse racing came second, with 37%.
Full results from the survey revealed what sports UK bettors preferred:
- Football (45%)
- Horse Racing (37%)
- Golf (9%)
- Boxing (8%)
- Tennis (8%)
- Rugby Union (6%)
- Cricket (6%)
- Darts (6%)
- Greyhound Racing (5%)
- Motorsport (5%)
- Snooker/Pool (4%)
- Rugby League (3%)
- MMA (3%)
- NFL (5%)
- NBA (3%)
- MLB (2%)
Offline Wagering in UK Statistics
The UK’s on-site betting industry is going strong. Despite the rise of online gambling, the Brits still love their brick-and-mortar establishments. No one can blame them. There’s something about spending your last money on penny slots that just does it.
Here are some offline wagering statistics in the UK.
9. The UK has around 1,285 Adult Gaming Centres as of March 2022.
The UK has about 8,408 existing brick-and-mortar gambling establishments. This is based on the preliminary figures on March 2022.
The breakdown of data is as follows:
- Betting Establishments: 6,219
- Adult Gaming Centres: 1,285
- Bingo Establishments: 609
- Family Entertainment Centres: 151
- Casinos: 144
10. 27.6% of the UK’s gambling community bets on the National Lottery.
(European Business Review)
The most-wagered game for the UK was National Lottery, with about 27.6% of the gambling community participating.
The distribution of the various gambling activities the UK takes part in is stated below:
- Bingo: 2.6%
- Horse Racing: 3.8%
- National Lottery:27.6%
- Other Games: 1.6%
- Other Lotteries: 10.0%
- Scratch Cards: 11%
- Slot Machines: 3.7%
- Sports Betting: 6.6%
11. GGY for offline gambling in the UK ranked 3rd in GGY per sector, with £2.1 billion.
According to the UK government, the country’s GGY for offline gambling amounted to £2.1 billion from April 2021 to March 2022.
This marked a 105.6% increase compared to the previous year’s lockdown-heavy data.
Betting Addiction Statistics
Although gambling is primarily recreational, it can cause severe issues such as debt when unregulated. A report suggested that over 60% of gamblers began having debts due to the activity.
What’s worse is that, for some UK bettors, gambling is their way to earn money, categorizing them as problem gamblers.
Let’s find out how deep this problem goes for the UK.
12. UK’s National Health Service Long-Term Plan included the construction of 15 gambling clinics by 2023-2024.
(NHS Long Term Plan, Gambling Commission)
The study showed that referrals for treatment for gambling addiction were up 42% between April and September (2022), with 599 patients referred. In April-September 2021, 421 patients were referred.
These show that the number of gambling addicts seeking treatment in the UK increased by over two-fifths from 2021, which prompted NHS to construct new gambling addiction clinics in 2022. NHS also opened eight more clinics around the UK, with one focusing on treatment for younger adults.
The UK Gambling Commission estimated that 138,000 people could be problem gamblers, with around 1.3 million engaging in moderate to low-risk gambling.
13. Around 1.4 million UK adults are considered problem gamblers.
Up to 2.7% of UK adults (nearly 1.4 million people) were assessed to be “problem gamblers.”
The study added that about 7% of adults (3.6 million) reported experiencing adverse effects from someone else’s gambling issues.
14. In 2021, 31% of gamblers sought treatment for mental health issues.
Almost one-third (31%) of gambling addicts in the UK sought mental health treatment caused by anxiety. 28% sought help due to financial issues.
The data also showed that 25% of British gambling addicts sought support due to relationship problems. The remaining 20% sought help due to severe problems (job-related, domestic-related, criminal proceedings, or personal).
15. 1 out of 9 in every 1,000 people in the UK express gambling-related problems.
(BBC, Royal College of Psychiatrists)
The study suggested that 1 in every 100 Brits has a gambling problem and possible disorder.
BBC also mentioned that 55% of people that called the National Gambling Helpline in 2017 talked about their online gambling struggles. According to Gambling with Lives, gambling-related suicides were up to 250-650 yearly.
Gambling Growth and Trends in the UK
The Brits are serious about gambling. While the UK Gambling Act of 2005 regulates the industry, the business finds ways to contribute to the growing revenue of the country.
There are trends and mechanics in the industry that bettors should learn, such as “wagering,” “parleys,” and “return to player.”
Here are some stats to determine the growth and trends within the UK gambling business.
16. Around 44% of British adults join the UK gambling industry.
About 25 million adult gamblers boost the UK gambling industry. Statistics stated that around 45% of the residents gamble each month. Most gamblers range from 44-64 years old.
17. The total for gambling receipts for 2022-2023 had an 11% increase from the previous fiscal year.
The betting and gaming receipts for the provisional 2022-2023 (April-September) amount to £1,619 million. This is an 11% increase (£164 million higher) compared to 2021-2022 of the same month.
18. In March 2022, Great Britain’s GGY tallied more than £14 billion.
UK’s GGY was over £14 billion, up by 10.24% compared to the previous year’s GGY of 12.7 billion pounds.
The increase can be associated with the pandemic as the restrictions caused a temporary halt in many operations, such as major sports leagues and brick-and-mortar establishments.
Gambling can be assumed as one of the UK’s most popular past-time activities. These stats also show that many Brits, especially adults, indulge in light-to-heavy wagers.
The recent data also suggests that gambling will only continue to grow in the country for online and offline gambling activities.
The positive takeaway is that the government regulates the UK’s gambling industry. The country provides many ways to help its citizens, such as establishing gambling-centered clinics.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is the gambling capital of the UK?
London is considered to be the UK’s gambling capital. There are around 35 casinos in the city offering poker tournaments, slot machines, and table games.
What is the average gambling debt in the UK?
The average value of the Brits’ gambling debt is about £10,000.
Is gambling tax-free United Kingdom?
Gambling is not taxed in the UK. Gamblers (both online and offline) in the UK can keep their entire winnings.
How many people are employed in the gambling industry in the UK?
As of 2019, about 46,000 UK people work in the betting industry.
Royal College of Psychiatrists