Online biggest sector in British gambling
Online gambling is the largest sector in the British gambling industry, the latest statistics issued by the Gambling Commission have confirmed.
The figures, which cover the period from April 2015 to March 2016, are the first to include a full year of data from remote gambling following the switch to point of consumption regulation in November 2014.
Online gambling operators generated a gross gambling yield (GGY) –the amount kept by operators after winnings have been paid out – of £4.5 billion.
Over the same period £3.4bn was generated by the National Lottery, £3.3bn by the high street betting sector and £1bn by traditional casinos.
Of the £4.5bn generated online, £2.6bn came from casino games, £1.6bn from betting, £152m from betting exchanges, £153m from bingo and £26m from pool betting.
There were also 611,531 self-exclusions by customers compared to 180,166 for the previous five-month period, although Remote Gambling Association chief executive Clive Hawkswood said the figures should be kept in perspective.
He said: "It's not the number of people, it's the number of self-exclusions. The average online customer has five accounts and it stands to reason if you self-exclude you will exclude from all five accounts."
New self-exclusion scheme
A National Online Self-Exclusion Scheme is due to be brought in by the end of next year and Hawkswood said that would help them analyse data better.
"What we'll put in the terms and conditions in self-exclusion is the data can be used by academics, and for the first time we'll be able to really slice it and find out what's going on," Hawkswood said.
He added of the commission's figures: "Some people probably will jump to conclusions but I just think the data, if it could be unpicked, would not support this indicates a huge problem."
Gambling Commission programme director James Green said: "Our latest statistics show that with the growth in online gambling the industry is increasingly taking a creative approach to using technology to engage consumers.
"As the online sector grows, operators will also need to demonstrate they are taking an equally innovative approach to ensuring gambling is safe for all online consumers."
The statistics showed there were 8,709 betting shops in Britain as of September 2016 – a 1.8 per cent fall from March 2015 – while gaming machines increased their share of GGY compared to over-the-counter betting, representing 52.7 per cent of the total, according to the commission.