Punters lose £1.8 billion on gaming machines in 12 months
The amount of money lost on betting shop gaming machines increased to a high of £1.8 billion in the year to September 2016, according to the latest statistics released by the Gambling Commission.
The share of betting shop gross gambling yield (GGY) - the amount kept by operators after winnings have been paid out - provided by gaming machines was 56 per cent compared to traditional over-the-counter betting.
The gaming machine GGY figure in Britain equates to a loss of more than £27 per person. However, the Association of British Bookmakers said the growth was reflected in the wider industry and general economy.
A spokesman said: "The increase in revenue from gaming machines in betting shops of three per cent is in line with the average growth in revenue across the whole of the gambling industry [three per cent] and growth in the economy as a whole.
"To put the growth in gaming machines revenue in context the Gambling Commission’s figures show a 20 per cent increase in revenue in casinos, a seven per cent increase in lotteries (other than the National lottery) and a five per cent increase in online revenue."
Gaming machines, also known as fixed odds betting terminals or FOBTs, are the subject of a government review announced last autumn, the results of which have been delayed by the general election campaign. Both the Labour and Liberal Democrat manifestos have called for the stakes on machines to be cut to £2 from the current maximum of £100.
The findings of the government review, which many expect to recommend a cut in stakes, had not been expected to be published until the autumn.
Much will depend on the result of the general election and, in the event of a Conservative victory, whether ministers at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport remain in their posts.
The latest total gross gambling yield (GGY) of the British gambling sector was £13.8bn, up from £13.4bn in the year to March 2016.
Remote gambling, mainly made up of the online industry, remains the largest sector in British gambling and constitutes 32 per cent of the overall market with GGY of £4.5bn, up from £4.2bn.
Within the remote sector, casino games generated £2.4bn of GGY, while remote betting, including betting exchanges and pool betting, totalled £1.9bn of GGY dominated by football and horseracing.
Racing's remote GGY increased to £352 million from £342m, while football GGY stood at £619m.
In betting shops, turnover on horseracing, which in March 2009 stood at £5.74bn, fell to £4.6bn in September 2016 from £4.79bn in March 2016. However, GGY increased slightly to £600.5m from £598.6m.
Total betting shop numbers fell again to 8,788, meaning numbers have fallen by one per cent for each of the last three periods covered by the commission's statistics.
Gambling Commission Statistics Headline Figures
£13.8bn Total GGY of British gambling industry
£4.5bn Total GGY of remote sector
32% Market share of remote sector
106,678 Total number of people employed in the British gambling industry
8,788 Number of betting shops in Britain
1.8bn Total GGY of betting shop gaming machines
56% Share of gaming machine GGY in betting shops compared to over-the-counter