The Gambling Commission has published data to March 2023, with the dataset collected since March 2020 showing how 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 (LBOs)
- 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 four of financial year 2022 to 2023, with Quarter four 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 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 March 2023.
Comparison should not be made with the industry statistics dataset, as this data set reported here may include free bets and bonuses and does not cover all operators.
Latest data2, from January to March 2023, and also covering the Cheltenham festival, shows total online Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) increased 5 percent, compared to the same period last year, to £1.3 billion. The increase was driven by the real event betting (13 percent) and slots (2 percent).
Both the overall number of total bets and/or spins and the number of average monthly active accounts3 increased during the quarter, seeing increases of 9 percent and 11 percent respectively, compared to the previous year. Both metrics reached new peaks in the dataset time period in the month of March 2023.
We will continue to collect and monitor the data to inform our views of risk and understanding of consumer behaviour.
Online real event betting
Online real event betting GGY increased by nearly 13 percent year-on-year for Quarter 4, to £555 million. The number of bets increased by 19 percent while the number of average monthly active accounts increased by 9 percent compared to the same quarter last year. The popularity of this year’s Cheltenham festival is likely the cause for the increase. Another factor could be consumer retention from the World Cup.
Slots GGY increased 2 percent to £552 million year-on-year for this reporting period. The number of spins increased 9 percent in the quarter to 19.5 billion, while the number of average monthly active accounts increased 15 percent to 3.9 million. As a result of the increase in actives, the number of spins per session decreased 7 percent between Quarter 4 2021 to 2022 and Quarter 4 2022 to 2023.
Safer gambling indicators
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased 10 percent year-on-year for Quarter 4 to 8.8 million. The number of total sessions also increased by 17 percent in the equivalent time period, with 6.4 percent of all sessions lasting in excess of one hour during the quarter. The average session length remained consistent at 17 minutes for the fourth consecutive quarter.
The total number of customer interactions in Quarter 4 decreased by 12 percent to 2.9 million compared to the same period last year, with the majority remaining automated in nature.4 The number of direct interactions undertaken by operators in this dataset has increased by 31 percent year-on-year.
The Commission has collected data from the largest LBOs for the months of March (pre-lockdown) and June 2020 through to March 2023. 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 Quarter 4 (January to March) increased by 6 percent from Quarter 4 last year to nearly £585 million, while the number of total bets and spins increased 2 percent to 3.3 billion.
Over the Counter (OTC)
The number of bets placed over the counter decreased 4 percent in the quarter compared to the same period last year to 138 million, while GGY decreased 5 percent to £167 million.
Self-Service Betting Terminals (SSBT)
SSBT’s continued to grow in popularity. The number of bets placed on SSBTs increased by 28 percent year-on-year to 37 million in this reporting period, while GGY increased by 28 percent to £125 million.
Machines GGY increased 5 percent in Quarter 4 year-on-year to £292 million, with average spend per session increasing slightly to £12.26. The average number of spins per machines session increased to 131 spins in this quarter.
Safer Gambling Indicators
Consistent with last year, 3 percent of total machines sessions lasted more than an hour in this quarter.