Gambling in the UK

Etusivu » Gambling in the UK

Based on the Gambling Act of 2005, betting, gaming, or joining in a lottery is considered gambling. This definition of gambling helps people distinguish which activities should be licensed and regulated by the gambling authorities. According to the UK Gambling Commission, gambling activities are divided into different categories which include the following:

  • Arcades – this includes all arcade games for adults and families
  • Lotteries – lotteries include all forms of sweepstakes, raffles, tombolas, and more
  • Betting – this form of gambling activity includes event or high street bookmakers and online betting events
  • Bingo – this can be done online or in physical bingo halls or rooms
  • Casino – there are land-based and online casinos that the UK Gambling Commission regulate
  • Gaming Machines – these machines include a wide range of games with fixed odds and betting range, slot machines, and more

Latest Statistics of Gambling in the UK

If there are different ways to win, there are also different odds and potential levels to win. Thus, there are unlimited ways to have fun in the gambling industry. Players can bet on a horse race, various sports, card games, slot machines, and more to enjoy the thrill of winning big. After all, winning in gambling comes with huge potential returns as well as bragging rights.

In the UK, the gambling industry has grown a lot based on the latest statistics. But despite the widespread use of the internet, some people are still stuck with the physical gambling houses when asked about casinos. What they didn’t realize is that land-based casinos are not the most popular go-to gambling houses now in the UK.

The real competitor that makes noise in the market is the online gambling industry which continues to grow. Just look at how many casinos are now running online which players can access/or even download on desktop, tablet, and smartphones. As you go further, you will learn how this trend is growing bigger each year in the UK alone.

Types of Gambling that are Popular in the UK

If you are one of those people who are flexible when it comes to gambling, you probably like a bit of everything. But since we are all unique, it is impossible for everyone to like the same game and type of gambling. You and your friends may like eating doughnuts but your choice of flavors may vary.

It is the same with gambling where players have a wide range of games to choose from when betting. For instance, there are various types of online games and sports games that players can explore. If you want to narrow down your search, there are also specific options that players can consider when choosing games.

Now, these are the types of gambling that players in the UK commonly choose according to the previous statistics:

  • National Lottery – the National lottery is the most common type of gambling that people can wager easily. In fact, 27.65% of the gambling community in the UK takes part in the National Lottery.
  • Other Variety of Lotteries – participating in the National lottery may be the easiest way to gamble but there are other kinds of lotteries. At least 10% of the UK bettors spend on other kinds of lotteries.
  • Scratch Cards – instant winnings from scratch cards made it second to the most popular kind of gambling among bettors in the UK. Closely following the National Lottery, 11.2% of the gambling community buy scratch cards to get an instant shot at winning prizes.
  • Sports Betting – are you one of those sports bettors in the UK? Regardless of the kinds of sports or even top TV shows, and game competitions that you like wagering, you’re in. Sports bettors in the UK make up 6.6% of the gambling industry.
  • Horse Racing – there are lots of racing tournaments across the UK and horse racing is on top of bettors’ choices. Thus, there are 3.8% of gamblers in the UK who bet on horse racing.
  • Slot Machines – this may seem surprising but slot machine is not the most popular form gambling in the UK. Statistics show that slot machines take up 3.7% of gambling traffic in the UK. Regardless, most online casinos nowadays offer a huge list of slot machines that are packed with enticing lights and sounds.
  • Bingo – if you think that bingo rooms have lost their popularity, you got it wrong. Land-based bingo rooms still exist but it is not that popular anymore so casino game providers introduced bingo online. At present, gamblers in the UK who play bingo online take up 2.6% in the charts.
  • Other Games – the world is full of possibilities, especially in the virtual gambling world. Some of the casino games you know may not be that popular but they still make up 1.6% of the gambling community.

Every month, software providers from different countries always find a way to entertain players by releasing new games.

Average Number of Players in the UK

When it comes to the Gross Gaming Yield or GGY from April 2018 to March 2019, statistics reveal a £14.3 billion figure. Apparently, this is bigger than the GDP or Gross Domestic Product when compared in many countries. Still, these figures don’t mean that UK players have developed an uncontrollable urge to spend on gambling.

As a matter of fact, an average online player in the UK spends a small fraction only of the GGY. The love of people in gambling reflects in every bet which led to the huge figures above. Not to mention because there are about 24 million adult gamblers now in the UK. From these figures, 10.5 million of the players are from online casinos.

Thus, the latest statistics indicate that more than 45% of the residents in the UK gamble at different levels every month. An average gambler in the UK bets £2.57 weekly or more than £133 yearly. This indicates that gambling is more like an occasional pastime than a daily routine for most UK players.

Breakdown of Figures

Based on the UK Gambling Commission’s latest breakdown of figures from October 2018 to September 2019, the total GGY reveals the following:

  • Online Casinos – the total GGY for online casinos reached £3.2 billion which is 3.9% higher than the figures last April 2018 to March 2019.
  • Online Betting – next to the online casino is online betting which made £2.1 billion. This is 4.3% higher than the figures last April 2018 to March 2019.
  • Online Bingo – surprisingly, the GGY of online bingo grew to £198 billion. This is 12.5% higher from April 2018 to March 2019.

Based on these figures from Statistica, the online gambling market is worth about £50 billion. Clearly, this is a huge leap from the last year’s figure which is more than £42 billion. If this growth continues, the worth online gambling market globally should increase by more than £6 billion by 2023.

The UK’s Part in the Global Online Gambling Industry

In 2018, Europe dominated the online gambling industry with a 54% share according to a study conducted by Edison Investment Research. Meanwhile, the share of Asia and the Middle East is next to the biggest revenue in the global market which is 12%. From the 54% revenue of Europe, UK’s share makes up 15% of the total which shows its big contribution in the market.

UK Gambling Commission’s Strategy to Improve the Industry

Ever since the UKGC was established in 2005 under the Gambling Act, the agency regulated commercial gambling in the UK. Event eh National Lottery is covered by the UK Gambling Commission. In the latest release of its publication, the UKGC emphasized the work it planned to deliver in the next 3 years.

With the current statistics, the UKGC introduced its 3-year corporate strategy to improve the country’s growing gambling industry. The goal here is to keep the industry flexible while it evolves. This also helps ensure that the competitive bidding process is completed for the next license of the National Lottery.

According to Dr. William Moyes, “We understand that the gambling businesses we license will need to adapt and respond to the demands of their consumers. But in evolving products and services, consumer protection must be at the forefront of businesses’ minds and plans,”. 

He also added that “Given the innovative and fast-moving nature of the gambling industry, and our intention to help the National Lottery go from strength to strength, our regulatory approach cannot stand still,” Dr. Moyes added. “We need to adapt to live up to the international reputation we have earned as an effective regulator.”

This mission led to the UKGC’s 5-Step Plan or Strategic Objectives that include the following:

  • Protecting children and vulnerable people from being harmed by gambling
  • A fairer market and more informed consumers
  • Keeping crime out of gambling
  • Optimize returns to good causes from The National Lottery
  • Improving gambling regulation

The key issues here are similar to the agency’s first 3-year plan which they released in 2018. This year, the UKGC explained that this plan aims to build achievements as well as implement new policies.

According to the UKGC, their latest strategy is considered the ongoing review of the UK’s gambling industry since it’s conducted by the DCMS. Thus, the Parliament agency considers the UKGC’s power and ability to regulate the industry.

Thus, the UKGC released the statement that says “We expect the DCMS review to conclude partway through the life of this strategy, so we must balance the need to make progress while remaining flexible to adapt to the outcomes of that review,”.


The UKGC regulates one of the biggest gambling industries in the world which remains growing each year. As the latest figures reveal that 10,000 brick-and-mortar gambling houses decrease now, some players shift to online gambling. Overall, UK still has the biggest number of fully licensed and regulated online gambling operators in the world. Thus, UK remains the leading player in the online gambling industry.

Where to play? UK players may want to visit GMBLRS and for Finnish players we recommend the Pay N Play casino: pikakasinot.

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18+ | gamble responsibly.


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