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Online Gambling and FOBT losses in the UK Still on the Rise in 2016

- May 26, 2017 By Oliver Young -

A total of £13.8 billion was lost on gambling last year in the UK, statistics from the UKGC show.

Online gambling losses in the UK have increased when compared to last year, new statistics from the UK Gambling Commission released this Thursday show. According to the numbers, which were posted weeks before a governmental review of the gambling sector is to be revealed, show that online casinos are doing better than the land-based casino sector, while the overall industry is also on the rise.

Online Gambling – the Top Earner

The numbers show that the entire gambling market saw a 3% rise during the 12 months between October 2015-September 2016, generating £13.8 billion in total revenue. The online (remote) sector is still the biggest earner, accounting for 32% of the entire market and a GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) of £4.5 billion – an increase from last year’s April-March numbers of £4.2 billion.

Casino games noted the highest turnover within the online sector, or £2.4 billion GGY, of which the most was spent on slot games, which accounted for £1.6 billion. Remote betting, on the other hand, generated a total of £1.9bn in GGY, most of which was wagered on football and horses. During the 12 months, there were more than 28.4 million newly registered accounts in the online sector, or 4.7 million more from the previously measured period. An uptick was also noted in the number of active users as well, which jumped from 20 to 21.4 million.

Other top earners are once again the National Lottery and land-based betting sector. The lottery, which saw a 3% decline over the same period last year, accounted for £ 3.26 billion and fell down to the third spot on the revenue chart. The second highest earner was the non-remote betting sector, which rose around 3% to the current £3.4 billion, despite the number of betting shops falling down by 1% during each of the last three years covered by the UKGC.

FOBT Losses Surge

But one of the most concerning finds was the increase in FOBT (fixed odds betting terminals) losses, which reached a record of £1.82 billion during the 12 months ending September 2016.  For comparison, during the 2008-09 period when they were first introduced, the loss was estimated to just over £1 billion. However, it is now over 70% higher, despite the number of FOBT machines rising by only 9% since then.

FOBT betting limits were one of the primary concerns for the government and the UKGC during the last months. Under current regulations, players can gamble up to £100 during every 20 seconds on the terminals – a number which was deemed too high by both Labor and Democrat parties, each party voicing promises to help lower the stake to £2.

Apart from the terminals, an increase in revenue was also recorded in land-based casinos, which saw a 19% jump in GGY to £1.19 billion, most of which was revenue from table games, especially Punto Banco, which accounted for £213.6 million. Electronic gaming is also on the rise and currently accounts for £166.1 million, while blackjack table GGY declined to £187.6 million from the £203.7m of last year.

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