How we prepare our industry statistics
Our gambling industry statistics report on the size and shape of the gambling industry in Great Britain. Gambling means gaming, betting or taking part in a lottery. The publications are Official Statistics and are prepared in line with the Code of Practice for Statistics.
Summary of data sources
We collect data to produce our industry statistics from many sources. These include regulatory returns, society lottery submissions and data from the National Lottery licence holder.
- Regulatory returns are quarterly or annual returns submitted by operators for each licence activity they hold, reporting operational and financial activity. We require remote (online), non-remote (land-based) casino and large betting licence holders to submit quarterly returns. All other licensees submit annual returns. These are manually submitted to us via our eServices portal. Quarterly returns need to be submitted within 28 days of the end of the quarter. For example, a return for the period of 1 January to 31 March must be submitted by 28 April. Annual returns must be submitted within 42 days of the reporting year. For example, a return for the period 1 January to 31 December must be submitted by 11 February.
- Society lotteries or local authorities who run lotteries submit their data each time they hold a lottery. This information is submitted to us manually through our eServices portal within 90 days of a lottery draw being made, or when the last scratchcard of a lottery is sold.
These statistics are used to monitor the size, shape and performance of the gambling industry, helping users to understand how current and future regulation can be most effective.
The users of these statistics fall into ten categories:
- Ministers and political figures
- Policy and other professionals in DCMS and other Government departments
- Gambling Commission
- Local authorities
- Gambling industry and their representative bodies
- Gambling customers
- Market analysts
- Media, for example journalists
Definitions of terms
Gambling Industry Statistics use words which are defined within the Gambling Act 2005 and the National Lottery Act etc. Act 1993.
Further information can be found in our guidance on regulatory returns and guidance on society lottery returns.
All regulatory returns, society lottery submissions and National Lottery data are subject to quality assurance checks.
- Each regulatory return is checked for completeness, accuracy and consistency with previous submissions and with data from the wider gambling industry. Part of this checking is to review any flags raised by our automated systems for quality control. Returns are checked again during the preparation of the Gambling Industry Statistics. If we find issues with the data, we will talk to the relevant licence holder, for example the gambling business.
- We carry out a similar process for society lottery submissions, while National Lottery data – which we receive daily – is subject to separate quality assurance.
Limitations - Apportioning
The dates that returns are submitted are chosen by individual licence holders and are not set by us.
This means that for us to accurately report on the data for a certain time period, for example, 1 April to 31 March, we need to use apportioning if operator’s reporting dates do not align with this.
This is how we use apportioning:
- We calculate the daily rate of each value in the return. The daily rate is calculated by dividing the value by the total number of days the operator’s return covers (usually 365 for annual returns or 91 for quarterly returns).
- We then multiply this daily rate value by the number of days the operator’s return falls within the reporting period we are using.
- If an operator has submitted more than one return within the reporting dates we are using, we apportion all returns and then add both apportioned figures together to give a total apportioned amount.
For example, our reporting period may be 1 April 2018 – 31 March 2019 (365 days). An operator has submitted two regulatory returns during this period:
Return 1 covers the operator’s reporting period of 1 March 2018 – 28 February 2019 and has a value of £100
This return covers 334 days of our report period.
£100 is divided by 365 (number of days in operator’s reporting period) and then multiplied by 334 to give £91.50.
Return 2 covers the operator’s reporting period of 1 March 2019 – 29 February 2020 and has a value of £150
This return covers 31 days of our reporting period. £150 is divided by 365 (number of days in operators reporting period) and then multiplied by 31 = £12.73
We then add both figures together to obtain the apportioned figure for the operator for our reporting period.
£91.50 + £12.73 = £104.23
We use apportioned figures for about 45% of all returns with the Gambling Industry Statistics.
We do not apply apportioning to society lottery submissions, as we only include draws within the selected reporting period of the publication concerned. Similarly, National Lottery data is not apportioned as we receive daily data reporting.
Limitations - Estimating
As a licensee’s regulatory returns may not align with our reporting period, we may also need to estimate some figures. We use estimating when regulatory returns are late, or when a return is not yet due for submission. For example, for a reporting period ending 31 March, all regulatory returns may not be received by us until May the following year (e.g. if a licensee has a reporting period of March to February) We estimate a licensee’s values by using their last quarterly or annual return. We take that previous figure, calculate a daily rate and apportion it against the missing reporting period.
We use estimated figures for about 20% of all returns within the Gambling Industry Statistics publication.
Limitations – Other
Where there may be limitations with the data we publish, these will be written within the publication alongside the data.
Provisional and revised statistics
There may be differences in the data in our industry statistics on each new publication due to our use of apportioning and estimating. We only update figures for the last three reporting periods. This means our statistics for the last three reporting periods should be considered provisional, meaning they could change in future publications.
Where we receive new data from operators (for example, a regulatory return covering a period for which we had used apportioning or estimating) we will update our data.
Unless any updates to the data create major changes to our statistics, the updated figures will be published in later scheduled publications of Gambling Industry Statistics (currently May and November annually). Sometimes, we may explain any data issues on the Industry Statistics pages of our website.
For further information, please read the Official Statistics revisions and corrections policy on our website.
Where our statistics cover
Our Gambling Industry Statistics cover data on gambling products and services provided to customers in Great Britain. Since 1 November 2014, this includes gambling businesses based overseas offering gambling to customers in Great Britain.
The statistics do not include data for Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, which are separate regulatory jurisdictions. The exception is National Lottery data, which covers sales to customers based in Northern Ireland.
Mergers and acquisitions
When two or more gambling businesses merge, or one business buys another, there may be some duplication of the data. We work closely with those businesses to make sure their data is accurate.
Up to March 2012, data about the number and type of gambling premises was given to us by local authorities. Data from this source was often incomplete. From March 2013 onwards, premises figures have been given to us by operators in regulatory returns. We do not recommend comparing the data across the two periods.
Our data is either based on the position at the end of the year concerned (for example 31 March 2020) or reflects an average of the values for dates falling within each 12-month period (for example 1 April 2019 - 31 March 2020). We explain which approach we have used within our publications.
We do not adjust historic Gambling Industry Statistics figures for inflation.
We calculate our totals and percentages from unrounded figures.