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Online shift the big change in gambling landscape but retail betting recovering

The Gambling Commission has released its latest set of industry statistics
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The shift to online gambling continues apace according to the latest statistics published by the industry's regulator.

However, the Gambling Commission said retail gambling is showing signs of recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic despite a near 20 per cent fall in the number of betting shops in Britain over the last two years.

Gross gambling yield (GGY) – the amount retained by operators after winnings have been paid out – was £14.1 billion between April 2021 and March this year, a 10.9 per cent increase on the previous 12 months but 0.8 per cent down on pre-pandemic levels. The figure was £9.9bn once lotteries were excluded.

Total GGY for the online betting, bingo and casino sector was £6.4bn, of which £2.4bn was on betting, led by football (£1.1bn) and horseracing (£768.5 million).

Headline level participation in gambling had been stable at around 32 per cent of the adult population between 2017 and 2019 but has now fallen to 28 per cent, the commission said.

Data from the Gambling Commission's quarterly telephone survey in September this year demonstrated the shift away from bricks-and-mortar gambling, with the proportion of adults gambling online equal to the proportion of people gambling in person at 18 per cent.

Five years ago in-person rates were approximately double online participation rates.

The commission said: "The movement of consumers to online has been a gradual and consistent trend which continued through the pandemic, but spend appears to have increased more quickly than the increase in consumers.

"The biggest change in the gambling landscape is a shift to online play, reflecting our lifestyles in general."

Non-remote betting was the third largest sector by GGY at £2.1bn, an 11.9 per cent decrease on the latest pre-lockdown period.

The number of betting shops fell for the eighth consecutive reporting period to 6,219 at the end of March, a 3.8 per decrease on the previous year and 19.1 per cent down on the pre-lockdown period.

Nevertheless, the commission said that while the popularity of gambling in person has declined over time "it remains a significant part of the sector and is showing signs of recovery following the pandemic".

The regulator added that in-person participation in gambling had increased in September 2022 compared to September 2021, "particularly amongst males and younger adults up to the age of 24- years-old".

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The biggest change in the gambling landscape is a shift to online play, reflecting our lifestyles in general
E.W. Terms