Market overview - operator data to September 2023 (published October 2023)
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The Gambling Commission has published data to September 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 United Kingdom (UK) government from October 2021 to January 2022 to help tackle the Omicron variant.
We will continue to publish this data on a quarterly basis.
This release compares Quarter 2 of financial year 2023 to 2024, with Quarter 2 of 2022 to 2023, 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.
Note: This dataset includes revised data on slots sessions. We encourage you to refer to the excel data document which contains updated data for the entire period. This can be found on Gambling business data on gambling to September 2023 (published October 2023).
The online gambling data, collected from the largest online operators, covers the months March 2020 through to September 2023.
Comparison should not be made with the industry statistics dataset, as the data set reported here may include free bets and bonuses and does not cover all operators.
Latest data2, from July to September 2023, covering the restart of the football season, shows total online Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) increased 0.6 percent, compared to the same period last year, to £1.2 billion. The small increase was mostly driven by slots which increased by 8 percent year-on-year, while GGY for nearly all other verticals decreased.
Both the overall number of total bets and/or spins and the number of average monthly active accounts3 saw large increases during the quarter, seeing increases of 10 percent and 7 percent respectively, compared to the previous year.
Online real event betting
Online real event betting struggled this quarter with GGY falling by 5 percent year-on-year for Quarter 2, to £428 million. The number of bets decreased by 1 percent while the number of average monthly active accounts decreased by 0.2 percent compared to the same quarter last year. A series of unfavourable sports results for the bookies in September is likely to be a contributing factor to the decrease in GGY this quarter.
Slots GGY increased 8 percent to £589 million year-on-year for this reporting period. The number of spins increased 11 percent in the quarter to nearly 21 billion, while the number of average monthly active accounts increased 11 percent to 3.8 million. The GGY per active player for online slots therefore decreased by 3 percent year-on-year.
Online safer gambling indicators
The number of online slots sessions lasting longer than an hour increased by 4 percent year-on-year to 9.3 million. The number of total sessions increased by 8 percent in the equivalent time period, with approximately 7 percent of all sessions lasting in excess of one hour during the quarter. The average session length decreased slightly to 17 minutes when comparing to Quarter 2 2022, but it has remained consistent with Quarter 1 2023.
The total number of customer interactions in Quarter 2 increased by 1 percent to 3 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 17 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 September 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 2 (July to September) decreased by 0.3 percent from Quarter 2 last year to £539 million, while the number of total bets and spins decreased 1 percent to 3.1 billion.
Over the Counter (OTC)
The number of bets placed over the counter decreased 1 percent in the quarter compared to the same period last year to 142 million, while GGY decreased 0.1 percent to £166 million.
Self-Service Betting Terminals (SSBT)
The popularity of SSBTs has continued in Quarter 2. The number of bets placed on SSBTs increased by 20 percent year-on-year to 31.5 million, this is the fourth successive quarter where bets placed on SSBTs have exceeded 30 million. However, GGY decreased year-on-year by 1 percent to nearly £93 million. This is the first time in financial year 2022-23 where GGY for SSBTs has fallen below £95 million.
Machines GGY decreased 0.4 percent in Quarter 2 year-on-year to £280 million, with average spend per session remaining consistent year-on-year at £12.09. The average number of spins per machines session decreased by 1 spin this quarter to 128 spins.
Offline safer gambling indicators
For the first time in nine quarters, the proportion of total machines sessions lasting more than one hour fell to 2 percent, after maintaining consistent at 3 percent for the previous 2 years.