The UK’s land-based gambling sector has grown by more than 20% in the last year and business is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

The Gambling Commission Gambling industry statistics Total gross gaming revenue (GGY) rose 6.8% year-on-year to £15.1 billion ($19.0 billion/€17.5 billion) in the 12 months from April 2022 to March 2023. This figure is calculated from all licensed long-distance and land-based gambling operators. The number of resident gambling operators also increased by 6.6% compared to the last pre-lockdown period up to March 2020.

GGY increased slightly more compared to the previous period if the reported lotteries are removed from the numbers. The total of £10.9 billion increased by 9.3% compared to 2021-22 and 7.6% compared to 2019-20.

Remote gambling remained the sector’s biggest revenue generator, with £6.5bn coming from the remote casino, betting and bingo sector. This is a moderate increase of 2.8% year-on-year and 13.3% compared to pre-lockdown levels. The number of new account registrations with RCBB operators increased 10.6% to 36.4 million.

Online casino gaming dominates the sector, generating BGY of £4.0 billion. Around £3.2bn of that came from slot machines. GGY for distance betting totaled £2.3bn, led by football (£1.1bn) and horse betting (£733.5m). GGY for remote bingo totaled £173.6m.

Growth through land-based gambling

The share of land-based gaming in total BGY rose to 41% from 35% last year.

Total GGY from arcades, betting, bingo and casino reached £4.5 billion, up 20.6% year-on-year. Land-based gaming revenue has now returned to pre-pandemic levels (up 0.2%) after Covid-related rules led to closures and restrictions in 2020 and 2021.

Slot machine GGY grew by 23% to £2.4bn. Although they are a real eye-catcher, machines remain at around 50% of land-based BGY, as they did last year.

Notably, this figure is up 17.9% compared to the recent pre-lockdown period, despite total onshore BGY remaining stagnant compared to 2019-20.

The increase in property revenue comes despite ongoing closures; by the end of March 2023 there were 186 fewer.

The total number of betting shops fell for the ninth consecutive reporting period to 5,995, down 2.2% year-on-year. This is also a decrease of 1,386 (18.1%) compared to the pre-lockdown period.

GGY for non-remote betting was £2.5bn, up 15.4% compared to the previous period and up 2.5% compared to the most recent pre-lockdown period.

The non-remote casino sector saw a 17.2% increase in BGY by £118.6m to £810.4m. This is a fall in BGY of £207.2m or 20.4% compared to the last period before lockdown.

The biggest growth area is non-remote arcades, which generated BGY of £572.2m. That’s an increase of 38.9% year-over-year and 32.8% compared to pre-pandemic numbers. GGY in the current period is £533.3m (up 40.8%) for adult gaming centers and £38.8m (up 16.3%) for family entertainment centers.

National Lottery ticket sales totaled £8.2 billion, an increase of 1.1 on 2021-22. About £4.7 billion was returned as a premium. Sales of lottery tickets from major society lotteries amounted to £943.9m, up 2.6%.

Second consultation launched to review gambling law

The Gambling Industry Statistics study was published the same week that the UK Gambling Commission launched its second consultation on proposals from the Gambling Law Review White Paper.

The second series of consultations will last 12 weeks, which means a deadline until February 2024.

This second round will focus on five themes, including socially responsible incentives, particularly bonuses and free bets. Additionally, custom tools are discussed that would give customers greater control over their gaming behavior.

“The white paper set out that ensuring safe gambling is a top priority for the government,” said Tim Miller, executive director of research and policy at the commission.

“We share this commitment and today’s consultations show how we can make it happen. We need as many people as possible to have a say on possible changes to the rules operators must follow.”

Earlier this month the commission released new data suggesting that one in 40 Brits is a problem gambler. The figures were released following an overhaul of data collection processes.