iGaming Undisputed King of UK Gambling, Continues Pandemic Era Dominance

IGaming, with 61 per cent of the Gross Gambling Yield for 2021-2022, is the undisputed king of British betting.

Slowly, slowly this nation’s gambling industry is recovering from the major impact of the 2020-2021 Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, according to just-released data gathered by the regulatory UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).

Total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) for the industry, encompassing traditional bricks-and-mortar, National Lottery and online, between April 2021 and March 2022 was £14.1 billion (US$17.04bn/€16.4bn), a year-on-year increase of almost 11 per cent — but still 0.8 per cent less than the last pre-pandemic year, revealed the UKGC survey.

One key finding by the commission is that the rise, and growing dominance, of iGaming, super-charged by the lockdown closures of casinos and high street bookies, continues, with the sector taking a massive 60-plus per cent tranche of the gambling pie.

“The biggest change in the gambling landscape is a shift to online play, reflecting our lifestyles in general,” reported the UKGC.

“Technology and globalisation have meant that gambling is no longer confined to opening hours and largely local events, but instead a 24-hours, seven-days-a-week opportunity and global event-driven marketplace.”

Although GGY for traditional betting shops, casinos, bingo halls and arcades more than doubled—to £3.5 billion (US$4.23bn/€4.07bn)—from lockdown to a return to normality, there has, nevertheless, been an overall 21.5 per cent decline, compared to pre-pandemic levels because temporary closures have become permanent.

Nevertheless, with retail still accounting for 20 per cent of all industry yields, it remains “a significant contributor.”

Traditional titans, such as William Hill, are now exploring new ways to marry the charm of the high street bookie with the cutting-edge technology of tomorrow by opening innovative digital-based stores.

The number of old-style betting shops in the UK has fallen from 7,406 outlets to 6,219, while the number of gaming premises—casinos, arcades—has dropped from 9,845 to 8,408 venues.

The biggest iGaming revenue driver continues to be slots, generating some £3 billion last year (US$3.62bn/€3.49bn).

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