Betting Industry Statistics

The gambling industry in the United Kingdom has been growing steadily for a very long time.

Gambling and Betting Industry Statistics 2021 in The United Kingdom

The gambling industry in the United Kingdom has been growing steadily for a very long time. It’s now regulated entirely, so every punter can feel safe when playing casino games and placing bets on their favourite sports teams.

Gambling is also a large part of the UK economy, and as such, the numbers can get quite interesting for anyone looking to learn some stats and facts about this enjoyable industry. Some can be exciting, while others can altogether leave you speechless. 

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at the most crucial gambling and betting industry statistics for the UK in 2021.

Gambling demographics and behaviours

The most significant part of the industry is the people, the punters who place bets all the time and casino games players. In this section, we’ll cover a wide variety of stats, from the ones that show where and how people gamble, to the facts and numbers about gambling addiction and problem gambling. 

How many people gamble in the UK?

The exact number of how many people in the UK gamble is unknown, but we do know the percentage. The latest information from the UK Gambling Commission states that almost half (47%) of all adults aged 16 or above have gambled.

What’s also interesting is that men gamble more, as 51% of men have participated in some form of gambling in the past. As for the age, the biggest gamblers are the ones between the ages of 45 and 54. 

  • 47% of adults (16+) in the UK have gambled;
  • 51% of men participated in any form of gambling; 
  • People aged 45-54 are most likely to gamble (53%); 
  • Only 6% age 16-24 participate in National Lottery draws. 

Source: GamblingCommission 

On what do people in the UK gamble?

According to the latest statistics, most people participate in the National Lottery. Around 30% of all gamblers play the lottery, even though it’s quite unpopular among young people, as we’ve seen from the previous section. 

Sports betting is also quite popular, with 10% of people participating in this activity. Most of them bet on football (5.8%), while the most popular type of betting is spread betting.

  • Most popular gambling activity is the National Lottery (30%);  
  • The most popular game in 2019 was Lotto (played by 21%);
  • Lotto ticket price had increased from £1 to £2 in October 2013;
  • Overall, 10% of people participate in betting activities;
  • Among betting activities, football is the most popular choice (5.8%);  
  • Spread betting is the least popular gambling activity (played by 0.3%).

Source: GamblingCommission 

How people gamble 

As you probably expect, most people gamble online on sports and casino games. Around 81% place bets and 74% play casino games. 

Bingo is incredibly popular in-person, but it’s one of the least played online games. What’s even more interesting is that football betting is the least popular gambling activity among punters who prefer real life gambling, yet it’s the most popular form of online gambling. 

  • The most popular online gambling activity is football betting (83%);
  • People gamble online mostly on sports (81%) and casino games (74%);  
  • The most popular in-person gambling activity is Bingo (81%);
  • The least popular betting activities: online Bingo (24%) and in-person football (26%).

Source: GamblingCommission

How often British gamble 

British people gamble quite often, as 20% do it two times every week. What’s more, the numbers have been increasing in the past few years, and more and more British citizens are gambling at least once a month. 

  • 33% of people gamble at least once a month; 
  • But 20% of people gamble more than two times a week;  
  • Since 2015, there has been an increase (9%) of people gambling once a month. 

Source: GamblingCommission

Online gambling behaviour 

Even though we all use smartphones all the time, gambling is still quite popular on desktop computers, even though the number of people gambling like this is decreasing every year. What’s interesting here is that even though half of all gamblers play the games on their phones, almost all of them do it from their homes, not while they are outside.

  • 50% of people access online gambling games via mobile phones; 
  • 76% of 18 to 24-year-olds use mobile phones to gamble online;
  • Online gambling from laptops decreased by 23% since 2015;
  • 95% of online gambling is done from home.

Source: GamblingCommission

Other online betting stats 

If you’ve ever had an online sportsbook review or guide, you’ll know that most experts advise players to register on more than one site in order to claim more bonuses and the like. So, it’s not surprising that the average number of accounts per person was three in 2019. 

Live betting is a big thing today, with approximately every fifth punter placing live bets whenever there’s an event. Also, even though it’s still relatively new, eSports betting is gaining in popularity, with 6% of stating they have placed bets on eSports in the past. 

  • 21% of online gamblers placed live bets during an event; 
  • Among the 18-24 age group, 37% participated in live betting; 
  • In 2019, 44% of online gamblers were registered with one company;
  • But the average number of accounts held in 2019 was three;
  • 6% of people ever placed bets on eSports;
  • eSports betting is popular (17%) among 18-24-year-olds. 

Source: GamblingCommission 

Gambling addiction, issues, and risk factors 

Unfortunately, not everything is exciting and good in the world of gambling, which is why we have to cover numbers on addiction, its risk factors, and problem gambling.

Gamblers with risk factor 

Thankfully, when it comes to risk factors, a tiny percentage of people are at risk of developing a gambling addiction, namely only 4% of them. 

  • 2.7% of gamblers are considered to be in the low-risk group; 
  • 0.8% of gamblers are considered to be in the moderate-risk group; 
  • 0.5% of gamblers are considered to be in the problem (high-risk) group. 

Source: GamblingCommission

Self-exclusion with gambling 

The self-exclusion scheme by GamStop was developed to help gamblers avoid gambling addiction, and it’s implemented nationwide. However, less than half of all gamblers know that it exists, and only 5% of all gamblers have excluded themselves from online gambling at some point in their lives. 

  • Only 5% of gamblers have ever self-excluded themselves;
  • While 42% are aware of it and 52% not aware of that option; 
  • The most common reason (50%) for self-exclusion is to help control the amount being gambled. 

Source: GamblingCommission 

Attitude towards gambling 

Even though almost half of all UK adults have gambled, an overwhelming majority of people (73%) believe that gambling is dangerous, especially to families. 

  • 82% of gamblers agreed that there are too many opportunities for gambling;
  • 73% agreed that gambling is dangerous for family life.

Source: GamblingCommission 

Gambling addiction 

Every gambler, despite what they might think about their character and strength, can get addicted to gambling if they are not careful. The main problem is when people start betting more than they can lose, but thankfully, a very small percentage of gamblers have done so. 

However, despite all of that, gambling addiction is quite costly to the UK, as close to £1.2 billion is spent on it every year. 

  • 15% of online gamblers have been gambling from the workplace;
  • 3.1% of gamblers have bet more than they can afford to lose;
  • Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK between £260 million and £1.2 billion per year;
  • 7% of gamblers said they gamble to earn money. 

Source: GamblingCommission 

Gambling operators and players interaction

Gambling operators and players have an interesting relationship outside of the obvious one. Most players (62%) never read the Terms and Conditions from operators, even though it contains critical information for them. Only 20% do, but most are aware that it’s helpful. 

What’s also interesting is that most players have seen ads or sponsorships from operators, but very few of them follow an operator on social media. 

  • 60% of players received or seen gambling information from operators; 
  • 62% of players don’t read Terms and Conditions but are aware of it;
  • Only 20% of gamblers read Terms and Conditions of an operator;
  • 65% of players who have read T&Cs found them helpful; 
  • 90% of gamblers had not needed to make a complaint;
  • Overall, 23% of online gamblers followed a gambling company on social media;
  • Facebook (17%) is the most popular social media platform that gamblers follow;
  • 87% of players have seen gambling ads or sponsorships;
  • 43% of people believe that gambling is associated with criminal activity;
  • Best odds are the most important factor (27%) for selecting an operator. 

Source: GamblingCommission

Gambling industry stats as of 2021

As we’ve stated, the gambling industry has changed significantly in the past few years. However, 2020 has had a drastic impact on every industry in the world, and the gambling industry has also seen some altered figures due to the pandemic. 

How has the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic impacted gambling behaviour in the UK? Here’s what the numbers say: 

  • The number of active gamblers has decreased by 7%.
  • The total number of online bets has fallen by only 2%, which shows that the pandemic hasn’t drastically influenced the online gambling market. However, out of that 2%, 12% belongs to real event betting, which is understandable as sporting events are rarer now. 
  • High street betting has kept its numbers, while total bets and spins have both fallen by 2% since July. 
  • The gross gambling yield (GGY) has fallen by 12%. As the number of bets hasn’t fallen drastically, this fall can most likely be attributed to the lack of matches in the English Premier League and due to the holiday season. However, we shouldn’t forget the loosened restrictions which have allowed for more spending on optional things.
  • Even though people have more free time, the number of longer online slots sessions (longer than half an hour) has fallen by 7%, but the average session length has stayed the same at 21 minutes.
  • The number of interactions with customers has risen by 11%. 4% of these are direct interactions with staff, which have fallen by 5% in July.

Source: GamblingCommission, Statista

Even though online gambling is quite popular today, less than 40% of the total market share in the UK belongs to online betting, casinos, and bingo. Furthermore, the industry earns £14.3 billion and employs almost 100,000 people across the country. 

  • £14.3 billion - Total Gross Gambling Yield for the Great Britain gambling industry;
  • 38,5% (£5.5billion) of the gambling market share is remote (online) betting, bingo, and casino;
  • £1.7 billion - Contributions to good causes from the gambling industry in 2019; 
  • 98,174 - Total number of employees in the gambling industry;
  • 7,315 - The number of betting shops; 
  • 1,633 - The number of arcades;
  • 642 - The total number of bingo premises. 

Source: Statista 

There are more than 8,000 betting shops across the UK, and most of those (around 25%) belong to William Hill. The next three most widespread betting shop operators are Ladbrokes, Betfred, and the Gala Coral Group. Approximately 1,000 betting shops belong to a wide range of different, smaller owners. 

  • William Hill - 2,264 betting shops; 
  • Ladbrokes - 1,828 betting shops; 
  • Betfred - 1,620 betting shops;
  • Gala Coral Group - 1,529 betting shops; 
  • Other - 1,079 betting shops. 

Gambling for good causes

One of the many organisations in the world of gambling that tend to donate money to good causes is the National Lottery. Since November 1994, when it began operating, the National Lottery has raised more than £42 billion for a wide range of good causes, including health, arts and heritage, environment, education, and of course, sports (most notably for Olympic athletes from the UK).

Source: GamblingCommission

  • £388.2 million were raised for good causes from April to June 2019;
  • £460.9 million were raised for good causes from July to September 2019;
  • £500.1 million were raised for good causes from October to December 2019;
  • £439.1 million were raised for good causes from January to March 2020;
  • £382.3 million were raised for good causes from April to June 2020.

Conclusion

So, there you have them, all the essential numbers, facts, and other interesting stats for the gambling industry in the United Kingdom. We hope that these statistics have given you a better overview of the sports betting and casino market in the country and that you have gained some important insights into how big the gambling industry really is.