So how big is the UK’s online gaming industry in 2022, and how has it changed in the last 12 months? Following from our overview of UK online gambling statistics for 2021, we’ve rounded up the key figures you need to know about online casinos and sportsbooks in 2022.
UK online gambling statistics in 2022
This list of online UK gambling statistics for 2022 give you an up-to-date assessment of remote and non-remote gaming in the country.
Size of the UK online gaming market in 2022
Online betting and gambling represent the largest combined sector for gross gambling yield (GGY). According to the most recent data (from November 2021), online gaming in the UK took £6.9 billion GGY, a growth of almost 16% on the previous year. It is difficult to say how this compares to non-remote gambling, as the latest statistics for bricks and mortar casinos, sports books and bingo halls have not yet been released.
Of this total, online casino games were especially successful, taking £4 billion in GGY, up from £3.2billion the year before. Slot games were the most popular by far (73%), while roulette (13%) and blackjack (5%) also attracted plenty of punters.
Remote sportsbooks also hold significant market share in the UK, taking a total of£2.6 billion GGY in 2021. Football and horse betting are the most popular sports to bet on.
While smaller than other types of online gaming, remote bingo also had a good year in 2021, bringing in over £189 million - £12 million more than the year before.
Online gaming is continuing to grow, too. According to gambling industry statistics released by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) the remote betting and gaming sector saw an overall increase of 18.4% in 2021, in line with its upward trajectory over many years.
There are lots of businesses working in the sector. Overall, the UK Gambling Commission has issued some 3,368 licenses to 2,439 online gambling companies (this was a 5% decrease on the previous year – perhaps unsurprising due to lockdowns). Right now, there are at least 175 online casinos operating in the country.
Covid-19 and the UK Online Gambling Industry
Unsurprisingly, the pandemic pushed gamers to online casinos and betting sites when lockdowns closed physical betting shops and casinos in 2020. Government data shows that while non-remote betting decreased by 26% in 2020, and traditional casino use dropped by 4%, statistics show how quickly online gambling is growing as we move into 2022:
· Remote online casino participation increased by 22.5%in 2021
· Remote betting participation increased by 13.5%in 2021
· Remote bingo participation increased by 5.8% in2021
According to one study, 12%of gamblers increased their online gambling spend during the lockdown, while 25% decreased the amount of wagers they made. That said, 59% said their betting and gambling behaviours hadn’t been affected either way.
The interesting question is how much of a long-term behavioural change this will lead to. Are the people who started gaming online going to stay there, or will they return to their old habits as non-remote gaming returns? Anyone banking on a return to bricks and mortars gambling might be in for a shock, however.
UK online gaming sector impacts traditional gambling
The rise in online gaming over the past decade has had a big impact on traditional betting shops and bookies. Data shows that despite a rise in industry GGY, the overall gaming workforce has declined by almost 15% since 2011. And, between 2009 and 2019 there was a small decline (0.4%) in the number of high street bookies, despite a rising population.
Conversely, there are lots of jobs in the online gaming industry – according to job listings site Job Site, there were over 400 online gambling job listings open in January 2022.
Online gaming businesses have a number advantages over their bricks and mortar competitors:
· They remain open for business any time of day
· They require fewer staff
· Business owners do not need to hire expensive premises
· They can offer more games
· Their lower business costs mean they can offer competitive odds
Who participates in online gaming in the UK?
Estimates show there are some 24 million people in the UK who participate in online gaming at least once per month. That’s about 44% of the entire adult population (aged 18 and over)! According to data released in June 2021, there are around 40 million accounts on gambling sites that are either opened or remain active every month (many of these might be from the same individuals opening accounts with different sites). Customers simply connect to these sites and pay using their bank details.
Online gaming is popular across age groups in the UK. Thatsaid, they are particularly popular among people aged between 35 and 55.
Statistics show that 29%of people in the 35-44 age range gamble online at least once per month and 25% of 45–54-year-olds gamble monthly too. People in the 65+ age group gamble online the least .
Online gamblers are more likely to be male. Studies show that around 23%of UK men gambled online each month in 2018, versus 15% of women.
The average UK online gambler bets £2.57 per week – or £134 annually. This suggests that most gamers bet and wager as an occasional pastime, rather than a serious activity.
The top three reasons that people take part in online gambling in the UK are:
· Escape and relaxation
· Financial motivation
· Social and competitive side
In terms of how people gamble remotely,gaming from a mobile device is perhaps the most common way to play – they can quickly make payments from their bank, which makes the entire experience seamless. Research shows that over 50% of people now place bets or use casino apps on their smartphones (versus using a desktop computer or over the phone).
UK online gambling and betting industry stays strong
Overall, the outlook for online gaming in the UK appears positive, with a clear upward trend in the number of people using sports betting and casino websites in 2022. The pandemic also introduced many more people to iGaming, so we can expect these new habits to stick for many.
If you are looking to set up an igaming business, an online casino, betting site or a sportsbook in the UK in 2022, you will need a way to accept payments from customers.
Xace is an e-money institution based in London that provides digital business accounts for online gaming firms. While Xace is not a bank, it delivers many of the key features you would expect from a banking solution, andour business accounts are tailored to the needs of the online gaming industry.
After you’ve applied for your UK iGaming license, opening a Xace account to begin receiving and making payments. To learn more, read about our payment accounts here.