Virtual Betting, Online Gambling Industry Grows – UKGC Report

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An industry report produced by the UK Gambling Commission showed the growth of the online gambling sector, while data for physical casinos remained stale.

The online gambling sector showed signs of progress—remote virtual betting being a standout—as the British gambling industry posted growth, according to a regulatory body’s study.

In the biannual report released by UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), remote virtual betting in Great Britain (GB) earned a betting gross gambling yield (GGY) of £169 million—a GGY greater than cricket’s £27 million and tennis’s £129 million—from October 2016 to September 2017.

In the same duration, GB’s gambling industry earned £13.9 billion total GGY. According to the UKGC report, the gambling industry showed a continuous overall growth of 0.74 percent.

The data reflect the growing online betting, bingo, and casino markets. From October 2016 to September 2017, the remote gambling sector took up 35.2 percent of the whole GB’s gambling market share. This sector generated £4.9 billion in GGY, a 3.7-percent increase from the previous report covering April 2016 to March 2017.

Remote casinos dominated the remote gambling sector, with £2.74 billion in GGY—with slot games contributing £1.8 billion. Remote betting, with £1.78 billion in GGY, follows in second place.

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Offline Gambling Stagnating?

The data for brick-and-mortar casinos and betting shops show some signs of decline. Non-remote betting, the second largest sector in terms of market share, only earned £3.3 billion in GGY—£93.7 million less than the sector’s GGY in the previous report.

The non-remote casino sector posted a non-significant decrease in GGY earning only £1.16 billion during October 2016 to September 2017.  Casino games from that sector saw a drop of £8.1 million in GGY, from £956.9 million to £948.7 million. The total number of physical gaming machines in GB from October 2016 to September 2017 stood at 183,928, a 0.7-percent decrease from the previous report’s data.

The number of licensed gambling premises in GB dropped 2.9 percent to 11,143. The total number of brick-and-mortar betting shops in GB also decreased by 3.2 percent from March 2017, with a total of 8,532 shops in March 2018. The total number of employees in the whole GB gambling industry in September 2017 stood at 106,366, a 0.8-percent decrease from March 2017.

The UK Gambling Commission, the non-departmental public body responsible for regulating fair gambling in Great Britain, releases its industry report providing information from each sector in the gambling industry. The commission publishes the report every May and November of each year.

More Gamblers Means More Responsibility

A growing gambling industry, as evidenced by the UKGC’s industry report, attracts more customers. As the level of engagement these customers have for gambling increases, the risk of their becoming problem gamblers also increases.

Problem gambling is a behavior related to gambling that presents danger to the bettor and to those around him. According to a separate study by the UKGC in 2017, 0.8 percent of the study’s respondents were identified as problem gamblers while another 3.9 percent were identified as at-risk gamblers.

The UK government is aware that it is responsible for the lives of millions of British gamblers, including the minority yet alarming number of problem and at-risk gamblers.

That is why UK’s Responsible Gambling Strategy Board produced the National Responsible Gambling Strategy, a set of recommendations covering a period of three years to minimize gambling-related harm.

The 2019 deadline is fast approaching and, while the Strategy is progressing, the gambling industry is still far from achieving the set goals.

Tim Miller, executive director of the UKGC, said:

“The challenge we all face is how to deliver a gambling market that provides consumer choice and enjoyment whilst also protecting against the risks gambling can create and impact on wider society. But, this isn’t a challenge the Gambling Commission can address on its own… there needs to be a real concerted focus by everyone that has a part to play.”

SkyBet, as part of the industry, accepts its responsibility. The betting company funded a £1 million gambling awareness program handled by independent consultancy firm EPIC Risk Management. The program will start with 10 football clubs across three of the top four tiers of English football. SkyBet is the main sponsor of the participating tiers.

Richard Flint, Sky Betting CEO, said:

“We were keen to put safer gambling at hear of our renewed partnership [with the English Football League]. By funding such a vital service for every club, we want to play our part in reducing gambling related harm amongst their players and wider staff. I firmly believe that responsible operators can add value to sport through partnerships like this.”

The UK Government envisions a world where bettors can gamble responsibly without the risk of harming themselves or others.

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