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Figures released by the Gambling Commission (UKGC) show falling revenue in the UK despite increasing numbers of active players in the market.

Market data is released quarterly by the regulator, including figures from the UK’s largest operators. The data covers around 80% of the total online gambling sector and 85% of the retail betting sector.

The latest data refers to Q3 of the financial year 2022/23, or the three months ended 31 December 2022.

Key figures

Total online gross gambling yield (GGY) for Q3 was £1.2bn, a decrease of 2% compared to the prior-year period.

The overall number of total bets and spins increased by 8%, meanwhile, as the number of average monthly active accounts grew by 13%.

Breakdown by vertical – online

Of the total GGY, £582.1m came from slots, up 2.5% year-on-year, while the number of active slot playing accounts grew 13% to around 3.7 million per month. Meanwhile, the total number of spins increased by 8% to 19.71bn.

Betting (on real events as opposed to virtual) was the second largest vertical by GGY after slots, generating £446.3m, a decrease of 3.1% year-on-year.

That decrease came in spite of a 21% increase in the number of bets placed and a 20% increase in the number of monthly active accounts in the betting vertical.

Casino gaming excluding slots generated £159.7m, down 7.9%, while virtual betting (£12.0m, down 30.7%), esports betting (£2.4m, down 28.5%), poker (£17.7m, down 11.0%), and other verticals (£2.0m, down 37.8%) made up the remainder.

Breakdown by vertical – retail

GGY for the retail betting sector grew by 5% year-on-year to £560m, while the number of total bets and spins grew 2% to £3.4bn.

The number of bets placed over the counter (OTC) shrunk by 4% to 140 million, while GGY from OTC bets fell 5% to £158m.

OTC betting was impacted in December by the winter World Cup, the absence of the Premier League and horse racing fixture abandonments, leading the month to register the lowest number of OTC bets since retail betting operations reopened following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The number of bets placed using self-service betting terminals (SSBTs), meanwhile, increased by 25% to 35.1 million, while GGY from SSBTs grew 20% to £100m.

Gaming machines in retail betting shops saw GGY increase 6% year-on-year to £302m, as the average spend per session grew to £12.48. 

All data points around gaming machines showed they enjoyed their highest records since the pandemic during Q3, the UKGC said.

Responsible gambling

The number of online slot sessions lasting longer than an hour also grew by 11% to more than 9 million, while the total number of sessions increased by 21% over the same period.

That meant that although there was an all-time high number of slot sessions lasting longer than an hour, they made up the lowest percentage (6.5%) of all slot sessions since the Gambling Commission began collecting this data in March 2020.

The average slot session length fell by two minutes to 17 minutes.

The number of operator customer interactions in Q3 fell by 10% year-on-year to 2.9 million, while the majority of interactions remained automated in nature.

The number of direct interactions undertaken by operators, meanwhile, jumped by 32% year-on-year, suggesting a more proactive approach being taken towards responsible gambling.

“We continue to expect vigilance from operators as consumers are impacted in different ways by the current economic environment,” the Gambling Commission said. 

“Many people will feel vulnerable as they face further uncertainty about their personal or financial circumstances.”

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