UK Gambling online industry now worth £4.9bn

The UK Gambling Commission has released its six-month update of gambling industry statistics. Key among the findings is that the online sector has grown 3.7% and is now worth £4.9bn.

Stats on a graph

Online gambling grew by 3.7% in the year up to November 2017. © Pexels.

The Gambling Commission’s latest edition of its industry statistics covers the months between October 2016 to November 2017. The statistics aim to show industry activity, changes within the market and betting and gambling trends across all major sectors.

The figures were released this week and show growth in most sectors of the industry.

The gross gambling yield (GGY) for the industry in the UK increased by 0.7% to £13.9bn. Total GGY for the online sector grew much more, by 3.7% to £4.9bn. That meant that the online sector continues to grow and now accounts for a 35% share of the market.

The industry employs 106,366 people, which is actually a decrease from the March 2017 figure by 0.8%.

The data also covered virtuals for the first time. Virtuas made bookmakers £169m in the twelve months leading up to September 2017, which is almost 9% of the entire industry.

There were 183,928 gaming machines in Great Britain in November 2017. That was 0.7% less than in March 2017. After stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) were slashed earlier in the year, it will be interesting to see how many remain in the future.

The number of betting shops also fell. As of March 2018, there were 8,532 betting shops in the UK, which is 279 fewer than a year prior. Bookmakers have argued that this number will continue to fall along with profits as the effects of the new FOBT stake limit are felt.

Rise in Remote Gaming Duty means an uncertain future

The figures make good reading for bookmakers who continue to do well online and see record earnings.

However, as a result of the new FOBT legislation, government has announced that Remote Gaming Duty – the tax bookmakers pay – is set to rise to make up the shortfall in lost revenue from FOBT stakes.

Remote Gaming Duty is currently set at 15% and it is expected to rise to around 20%. That increase, along with the bookmakers’ lost earnings from FOBTs, mean that profits could fall sharply for many operators in the future.

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