United Kingdom reports dip in gambling revenue 

by William Brown Last Updated
Rise in gambling self exclusions in the UK 

A small dip has been noted in the gambling revenue in the United Kingdom, despite a surge in lottery sales.

Calvin Ayre reports that figures released last Thursday by the UK Gambling Commission showed total gross gambling yield of 14.2 billion pounds in the 12 months ending March 31, a modest 0.6 per cent decrease from the same period a year ago.

This marks the second year in a row the overall gross gambling yield has fallen from the previous year.

The reporting period concluded 11 days after the UK market entered its first pandemic lockdown, so the wholesale upheaval since that event isn’t reflected.

But the period does include the dramatic reduction of stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops from 100 pounds to just 2 pounds, which started on April 1, 2019.

Total gross gaming yield minus lotteries was down 4.5 per cent to 10.2 billion pound, as National Lottery sales rose 10.4 per cent to 3.4 billion pounds while other lotteries shot up 13.2 per cent to 611.6 million pounds.

Lotteries accounted for 28.2 per cent of the market’s overall figure.

Online gambling recovered from its first ever annual decline in the previous period by rising 8.1 per cent to 5.7 billion pounds, representing a near 40% share of the overall figure, up nearly three points year-on-year and once again claiming the largest slice of the overall result.

Online casino gross gaming yield rose 3.7 per cent to 3.175 billion pounds, online betting shot up 15.5 per cent to 2.33 billion pounds and online bingo was up 0.5 per cent.

Pokie machines claimed the biggest slice of the online casino pie at 69.7 per cent of revenue, which was up 4.9 per cent.

The only sport to report a negative growth was tennis, falling 3.5 per cent to 116.7 million pounds.

Football retained its dominant position on the betting chart, rising 13.8 per cent to 1.13 billion pounds, while horse betting shot up 28.2 per cent.

New online gambling account registrations rose 30 per cent, although the total sum held in online accounts was down nearly one-quarter.

At the retail level, betting shop gross gaming yield was down a whopping 26.4 per cent to 2.4 billion pounds, as over-the-counter betting slipped five per cent to 1.28 billion pounds.

There were 7681 betting shops open at the end of March, down from 8320 at the end of March, 2019, the sixth consecutive year of annual shrinkage.

England casinos receive news about post lockdown plans 

England is one step closer to exiting its nationwide lockdown, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the country will come out of its national lockdown and move back into a tiered system from December 3.

Cards Chat reported in November that when the national lockdown comes to an end, casinos and betting shops in certain tiers will be allowed to reopen.

The announcement marks the return to a policy previously dismissed as ineffective by the government, but which is returning amid mounting pressure from members of parliament and the general public.

Ahead of the announcement, members of the Betting and Gaming Council offered to make more concessions than required.

In letters to Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove and Health Secretary Matt Hancock, casino operators said they would implement more safety features.

Their aim was to facilitate the reopening of casinos and betting shops, even in areas under the tightest COVID-19 restrictions.

Prior to the current national lockdown, all non-essential businesses in Tier 3 regions, including casinos and betting shops, had to close.

Venues in Tier 1 and 2 regions remained open.

The latest plea from BGC members called for all venues to remain open, regardless of location.

“The unprecedented offer came as it emerged that six casinos have closed their doors for good this year, with one operator forced to cut its workforce by more than 40 per cent,” the BGC press statement said

Among the self restrictions proposed, casinos in England offered to stop selling alcohol and close off all table games.

This would mean only soft drinks and pokie machines were available in Tier 3 regions.

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