Cookies on the Gambling Commission website

The Gambling Commission website uses cookies to make the site work better for you. Some of these cookies are essential to how the site functions and others are optional. Optional cookies help us remember your settings, measure your use of the site and personalise how we communicate with you. Any data collected is anonymised and we do not set optional cookies unless you consent.

Set cookie preferences

You've accepted all cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time.

Skip to main content


Annual Report and Accounts 2022 to 2023

The Gambling Commission's 2022 to 2023 Annual Report and Accounts. For the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

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

Overview of the British gambling sector

Today in Great Britain, approximately 23.6 million (around two-fifths of the adult population) have spent money on gambling.

The gambling sector we regulate comprises of a diverse range of products used by a wide range of consumers. Consumers play on different products, for different experiences, in person and online – sometimes at the same time. Our research into why people gamble shows it can be an opportunity to socialise or a moment of ‘me time’. It can be a niche activity, or something engaged in more widely.

It is also impacted by the context around it. Sometimes this is by adjacent sectors such as those that are also classed as gambling, like the National Lottery, or products that have gambling-like mechanics such as loot-boxes. Sometimes it is the macro trends that impact everything around us, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or the current cost of living crisis. This can make it a complex landscape to unpick or generalise, but certain recent trends and risks driven by the nature of gambling products are clear.

The biggest change in the gambling landscape over recent years 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 a day 7 days a week opportunity and global event-driven marketplace.

With 94 percent of United Kingdom (UK) adults having access to the internet in 2021 it is not surprising that our industry statistics show a long-term trend of increasing online gambling participation and a decrease in land-based gambling. This matches changes seen in other sectors such as the increase in online grocery shopping or the rising popularity of digital-only banks.

Whilst the popularity of gambling in person has declined over time, retail remains a significant part of the sector and is showing signs of recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Against this backdrop of changing trends, our data shows that although the vast majority do not experience gambling-related harms, there are still significant numbers of people who do encounter issues with their gambling.

The precise measurement of problem gambling and harms is complex and needs continual development, however, we do know that hundreds of thousands of gamblers are suffering negative consequences from their gambling.

Despite the gambling landscape changing fundamentally since the Gambling Act 2005 (opens in new tab), the headline rates for problem gambling have been static in recent years.

Within those numbers we know that some people are more likely to experience harm than others, including those who engage in multiple activities, men, those with probable mental health issues and players with the highest gambling expenditure. We also know that those suffering gambling-related harms are not a static group, so understanding the individual better and appreciating what works to help those avoid or recover from harm is a key part of advancing our understanding.

The gambling industry

In 2022, there were over 2,4001 gambling operators in the Great British gambling market licensed to provide gambling activities in Great Britain (GB), covering both land-based and online activities.

The following statistics give a snapshot of the latest British gambling sector, and when compared to the previous year (2020 to 2021)2 show how the market has recovered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of British gambling industry (2021 to 2022): £14.1 billion - increase of 10.9 percent when compared to April 2020 to March 2021
  • total GGY of British remote and/or online sector (2021 to 2022) £6.4 billion - a 6.2 percent decrease from April 2020 to March 2021 and 12.4 percent increase from April 2019 to March 2020.

In Great Britain in 2021 to 2022, there were:

  • 144 casinos
  • 609 bingo premises
  • 1,436 licensed arcades
  • 6,219 betting shops
  • 151,260 gaming machines in the previous premises.

Consumers and gambling

In 2022, around two fifths of the adult population gambled each month3, this equates to:

  • approximately 23.6 million adults gambled in 2022 (15.5 million excluding those who only play National Lottery draws)
  • approximately 14.3 million adults who gambled online in 2022 (9.9 million excluding those who only play National Lottery draws)
  • approximately 14.6 million adults gambled in-person in 2022 (10.4 million excluding those who only play National Lottery draws).

The National Lottery, other lotteries and scratch cards remain the most popular gambling activities in 2022.

Over time there has been a gradual but consistent increase in the proportion of people gambling online, with much of this increase being driven by National Lottery players moving from retail to online.

The number of people gambling in-person significantly increased in 2022 after the impacts of the pandemic, however levels of participation remain somewhat lower than pre-pandemic levels.

Gambling participation among adults aged 18 years of age and over

Line chart showing gambling participation within the Annual Report 2022 to 2023. Data provided within the following table.

Gambling participation among adults aged 18 years of age and over.
Year Overall past 4 week participation (percentage) Online participation (percentage) In person participation (percentage)
Year to December 2018 45.8% 18.5% 34.8%
Year to December 2019 47.2% 21.1% 35.1%
Year to December 2020 42.0% 23.6% 26.0%
Year to December 2021 42.6% 25.3% 24.5%
Year to December 2022 44.4% 26.9% 27.5%

Problem and at-risk gambling

Whilst measurement is complex, studies show there are hundreds of thousands of adults experiencing serious issues with their gambling. The 2018 Health Survey for England estimates are as follows.

Between 160,000 and 340,000 adults in England are classified as problem gamblers accordingly to the Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI) or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th Edition (DSM-IV)4.

Between 270,000 and 480,000 adults in England are classed as moderate risk gamblers according to the PGSI. The most recent data (2018) for the number of problem gamblers (according to the PGSI or DSM-IV) and at-risk gamblers (according to the PGSI) is taken from the Health Survey for England. Unfortunately, there was not a comprehensive picture available in 2018 for the whole of Great Britain.

National Lottery

The following statistics give a snapshot of the latest figures for the National Lottery:

  • £1.79 billion raised for good causes during 2022 to 20235
  • over £47 billion raised for good causes since 19946
  • approximately 15.3 million people reported buying a National Lottery ticket in the past four weeks, with half of players purchasing tickets in retail shops and half purchasing tickets online in 20227.
Previous section
The organisation
Next section
A year in review
Is this page useful?
Back to top