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Annual Report and Accounts 2020 to 2021

The Gambling Commission's 2020 to 2021 Annual Report and Accounts

  1. Contents
  2. Performance report
  3. Overview of the British gambling sector

Overview of the British gambling sector

This section covers key statistics relating to the gambling industry in Great Britain during 2020-21.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have been monitoring how the continued measures and changing lockdown restrictions across Great Britain have impacted gambling behaviour – especially the ways in which people are gambling. Those specific changes and risks, along with our priority actions, were covered in our first National Strategic Assessment which was published in November 2020.

We have monitored gambling behaviour during the pandemic by gathering, analysing and publishing data from operators, as well as conducting consumer research. Released on a monthly basis, the publications can be found on our website.

We have continued to stress the need for extra operator vigilance and they still need to be mindful that:

  • people will still be spending more time at home and online, and many are likely to be feeling more isolated and vulnerable as a result of the length of the pandemic period, the restrictions that are still in place and further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances
  • some consumers, such as highly engaged gamblers who play a range of products, are likely to spend more time and money gambling
  • there are consumers who may be gambling for the first time.

With the level of restrictions under constant review, during the coming months and over the next financial year we will continue to urge operators to be mindful about the potential of some consumers to increase their spend on some of the more intensive products whilst at the same time still engaging in real event betting activity such as sports.

The industry

  • Total GGY of British gambling industry: £14.2 billion1 – down 0.6% when compared to April 2018-March 2019
  • Total GGY of British remote/online sector up 8.1%1 when compared to April 2018-March 2019

Graph A) Gross gambling yield (£m)1 vs participation2* gross gambling yield vs participation

In Great Britain, there are:

  • 156 casinos1
  • 646 bingo premises1
  • 7,681 betting shops1
  • 1,615 licensed arcades1
  • 191,826 gaming machines1
  • 696 active remote licensees


  • Approximately 22.1 million2 adults gambled in 2020 – down 2.6 million since 2019
  • Approximately 12.1 million2 adults gambled online in 2020 – up 1.3 million since 2019
  • 50%3 of online gamblers use their mobile to gamble – stable since 2019
  • 29% of people in Great Britain agree that gambling is conducted fairly – but still a decrease from 2016.

Our consumer and industry engagement work therefore continues to be of vital importance.

Consumer trust in gambling

Graph B) Respondents agreeing that gambling in this country is conducted fairly and can be trusted2 respondents agreeing that gambling in this country is conducted fairly and can be trusted

All respondentsGambled in the past 12 monthsNot gambled in the past 12 months

Move to mobile

Graph C) Devices used for online gambling in the past four weeks33 devices used for online gambling in the past four weeks

  • 2.5 million bet on football2 – down 0.5 million since 2019
  • 20% of online gamblers bet in play3 – down 1% since 2019
  • 6% of gamblers self excluded3 – up 1% since 2019
  • Approximately 245,000 adults in England are problem gamblers4
  • 1.2 million adults in England are low risk gamblers4
  • 380,000 adults in England are classed as at moderate risk4

National Lottery

  • £1.83 billion raised for good causes during 2020-2021
  • Over £43 billion raised for good causes since 1994
  • Approximately 14 million reported buying a National Lottery ticket in the past four weeks2


1 Industry statistics 2019-2020. Published in November 2020

2 Quarterly Telephone Survey — Year to Dec 2020.

3 Quarterly Online Tracker – Year to Dec 2020

4 Health Survey for England 2018

Increases and decreases shown from Sources 1 and 3 are based on percentage point changes.

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