Latest UKGC Report Shows Increase in GGY for Lottery and Online Gambling

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission has released its latest figures and they cover the period from April 2019 to March 2020. The report provides details of the Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) across various sectors of the industry, and overall, it paints a mixed picture. However, two factors must be taken into account.

First, it is the first report since regulations were changed to reduce maximum stakes on category B2 machines from £100 to £2. A B2 gaming machine is a Fixed Odds Betting Terminal (FOBT) that has a maximum payout of £500, and they can be found in betting shops, arcades, and casinos across the UK.

Secondly, the report covers a period during which many sectors in the land-based industry had to close due to coronavirus restrictions that began on March 20th 2020. While this only had an impact on the final eleven days of the reporting period, it will have had an effect.

The GGY for the period was £14.2 billion, a decrease of 0.6% from April 2018 to March 2019. Considering the huge reduction in maximum bet on gambling machines, this is not too serious. However, if one excludes lotteries, the GGY was £10.2 billion, which is down 4.5% year on year.

Lottery Helps Make Up for Losses

Clearly, the lottery made up a great deal of the gambling yield lost from betting machines. National Lottery ticket sales increased by £696.4 million over the period to £7.9 billion, which supported a GGY equivalent increase of 10.4% to £3.4 billion. This means that the National Lottery was the second largest industry sector by GGY and thanks to this, it was able to increase its contributions to good causes to £1.7 billion, an 11.6% increase year on year

Online Gambling Races Ahead

However, it was online gambling, where the biggest gains could be seen. The total GGY for online sports betting, bingo and casino grew 8.1% to £5.7 billion. This accounts for roughly 40% of the general total.

Online casino GGY saw a 3.7% increase to £3.175 billion, and online betting increased by 15.5% to £2.33 billion. Online bingo only saw a slight increase; it was 0.5% to £176.8 million. Further breaking down the statistics, most of the online casino GGY came from slots, which accounted for 69.7% of the total. This is an increase of 4.9% year on year. There was a huge increase in the ‘Other’ games’ GGY (those that are not included under slots, blackjack, roulette, or peer-to-peer poker); it increased 18.5% and accounted for 8.7% of the general total.

In fact, roulette decreased by 1.7% and blackjack decreased by 14%. However, poker did see an increase of 2.7%.

Unsurprisingly, online sports betting remained healthy with betting on football growing 13.8% to £1.13 billion. The only sport to see a decrease was tennis, which fell 3.5% to £116.7 million. Horseracing betting shot up by 28.2% to almost £653 million while greyhound racing saw an increase of 29.2% to almost £73 million.

Interestingly, while total online accounts decreased by almost 25% during the period, there was an increase in new online gambling account registrations.

Betting Shops Suffer

Perhaps because of the reduction in maximum bet on FOTBs, there was a reduction in the number of betting shops. The drop of the GGY from betting shops was 26.4% to £2.4 billion. Over the counter bets fell 5% to £1.28 billion and the most extreme figure was a drop in GGY from the FOBTs, which fell 99% to just £12 million. However, it seems that players switched to B3 machines as they saw an increase of 58% to £1.06 billion, which resulted in an overall GGY drop for the machines of 41.2%.

Over 600 betting shops closed across the period; there were 8320 in March 2019 and 7681 at the end of March this year. It is the sixth year in a row that the number has fallen; however, the fall in arcades and bingo halls was smaller, and there was a small increase in the number of casinos.

Despite this, the GGY from land casinos was down 4% with a fall from both table games and machines. Across all the land-based sectors, the total GGY of the machines fell by more than 25% and the only category that saw growth was B3 machines (up 39.5%).

This is the first time that online slots have done better than land-based slots. Given that the next report will cover the vast majority of the coronavirus pandemic and its associated restrictions, it seems likely that all of these trends will continue.

See the full UKGC report.

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