Proof – if proof were needed – that our future lives exist online came this week with the confirmation of a trend many have been witnessing and commenting on for a couple of years now. New data released by the UK Gambling Commission revealed that the growth in online gambling has brought it to the point where it is now the largest single gambling sector within the UK. This kind of information is crucial for both those working in the industry as well as players interacting with it to help understand current and future trends, and the shifting face of gambling.
Online Gambling Growth
The UKGC’s recent study looked at how much money had been brought in (gross yield) across the gambling industry in the period of April 2015 and March 2016. The commission – which has the best figures on this kind of thing – estimated that a total of £13.6 billion was made across all sectors of the industry in that time.
The good news for online gambling operators was that for the first time in such a study, online gambling had the biggest single slice of the pie, with a gross yield of a whopping £4.5 billion. Despite being the first time online gambling has been able to boast being the largest segment of the industry in the UK, this news won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been following gambling over the last few years.
The march towards the majority of gambling cash being spent online – and to a similar extent on mobile – has been persistent for over a decade now. Since improvements in technology have made online offerings almost as thrilling as real casinos (not to mention a whole lot more convenient), it makes perfect sense that the shift towards online gambling is picking up pace.
Not only have traditional gamblers shifted to the more convenient online outlets to enjoy a flutter, but the online sector has also made gambling more appealing to those who might not otherwise have headed to a casino or betting shop. This opening up of the market is why we’re sure this trend is set to continue into the future, as more people than ever before engage with gambling in a way that suits them.
Decline Of The Other Sectors
I know what you’re thinking: sure, online gambling has grown a lot, but there’s still £9.1 billion unaccounted for in those figures. Where is all the rest coming from? Well, over the same period, the next three biggest sectors within the industry were the National Lottery (bringing in £3.4 billion), high street betting shops (accounting for £3.3 billion) and traditional land-based casinos (taking just £1 billion).
Though there has been a general growth overall in the gambling industry, most of this has been off the back of the increases in online participation. The figures for the other areas of the industry are less happy reading for those working within them. For instance, both high street betting shops and bingo halls have seen a drop in number (decreases of 1.8% and 4.3% respectively) over the 12 months in question, which has contributed in part to a 1.5% drop in the number of people employed in gambling in the UK.
While this news will be a drag for those losing jobs, or faced with fewer places to play, it comes as a result of players voting with their feet, and opting to engage with gambling online rather than through the traditional routes.