The Gambling Commission has published data to December 2022, with the dataset collected since March 2020 showing gambling behaviour has changed over the period.
Retail sectors1 mainly reopened on the following dates after the last set of restrictions:
- 12 April 2021 - Licenced betting operators
- 17 May 2021 - Arcades, bingo, and casinos.
All remaining restrictions were removed in England on 17 July 2021.
Minor restrictions, such as the need for face coverings and guidance to work from home, were brought in by the UK government from October 2021 to January 2022 to help tackle the Omicron variant.
Operators still need to be mindful about the potential of some consumers to be increasing their spend on some of the more intensive products while going through financial hardship brought on by wider economics factors.
We will continue to publish this data on a quarterly basis.
This release compares Quarter 3 (Q3) of financial year 2022 to 2023, with Q3 of 2021 to 2022, looking at how the market has changed in comparative periods over a year.
This release covers data from online operators and Licensed Betting Operators (LBOs) found on Britain’s high streets.
The online gambling data, collected from the largest online operators, now covers the months March 2020 through to December 2022.
Comparison should not be made with the industry statistics dataset, as this dataset reported here may include free bets and bonuses, and does not cover all operators.
Latest data2 shows a total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of £1.2 billion in Q3 (October to December), a decrease of 2 percent from Q3 of the previous year. The decrease was driven by the betting (real event) (-3 percent) and casino verticals (-8 percent).
Both the overall number of total bets and or spins and the number of average monthly active accounts3 increased between Q3 2021 to 2022 and Q3 2022 to 2023, 8 percent and 13 percent respectively. Both metrics reached new peaks in the dataset time period for slots and casino verticals in December 2022.
We will continue to collect and monitor the data to inform our views of risk.
Online real event betting
Online real event betting GGY decreased 3 percent year-on-year for Q3, to £446 million. The number of bets increased by 21 percent while the number of average monthly active accounts increased by 20 percent compared to the same quarter last year. The popularity of the football World Cup is likely to be responsible for the increase in general participation in recreational gambling, though the reduced amount of football betting opportunities, with top European leagues being temporarily suspended, may have resulted in the decreased overall spend in the period.
Slots GGY decreased 2 percent to £582 million year-on-year for Q3. The number of spins increased 8 percent to 19.7 billion, while the number of average monthly active accounts increased 13 percent to 3.7 million. The number of spins per active player decreased 5 percent between Q3 2021 to 2022 and Q3 2022 to 2023.
Safer gambling indicators
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased 11 percent year-on-year for Q3 to top 9 million for the first time in this dataset. The number of total sessions increased 21 percent in the equivalent time period, with 6.5 percent of all sessions lasting in excess of one hour during Q3, the lowest percentage recorded since we started collecting data in March 2020. The average session length decreased 2 minutes to 17 minutes year-on-year.
The number of customer interactions in Q3 decreased by 10 percent to 2.9 million compared to the same period last year, with the majority remaining automated in nature4. The number of direct interactions undertaken by operators in this dataset has increased by 32 percent year-on-year.
The Commission has collected data from the largest Licenced Betting Operators (LBOs) for the months of March (pre-lockdown) and June 2020 through to December 2022. It is worth noting that LBOs closed on 20 March 2020 and re-opened5 from 15 June 2020 before entering a tiered system in October 2020 and closing January 2021. LBOs were permitted to reopen again 12 April 2021.
Absolute values are not directly comparable for some months between these periods for several reasons including:
- retail not in operation for a full month in March and June 2020
- phased openings of premises after restrictions began to lift from June 2020
- local restrictions throughout 2020
- impact of restrictions on other retail gambling sectors.
GGY reported for Q3 (October to December) increased by 5 percent from Q3 last year to £560 million, while the number of total bets and spins increased 2 percent to 3.4 billion.
Over the Counter (OTC)
The number of bets placed over the counter decreased 4 percent in Q3 compared to the same period last year to 140 million, while GGY decreased 5 percent to £158 million. The impact of the football World Cup reaching the latter stages, the absence of the Premier League for the majority of the month, and horse racing fixture abandonments can be seen in December as over the counter bets fell to their lowest amount since LBO's reopened fully post pandemic.
Self-Service Betting Terminals (SSBT)
The growth of SSBTs continued as the number of bets placed increased by 25 percent from Q3 the previous year to 35.1 million, while GGY increased by 20 percent during the same period to £100 million. October saw a new peak for the number of bets placed in a month during the collection period of this dataset.
Machines GGY increased 6 percent in Q3 year-on-year to £302 million with average spend per session increasing to £12.48. The average number of spins per machines session increased to 133 spins in Q3. All the data-points in Q3 are the highest recorded since the pandemic.
Safer Gambling Indicators
Similar to Q3 (2021 to 2022), 3 percent of total machines sessions lasted more than an hour in Q3.