Gambling Statistics UK 2023
As a major player in the global gambling industry, the UK continues to lead the way in 2023, both in terms of innovation and regulation.
At Xace, we’ve been tracking trends in UK online gambling for several years now – and as our 2023 statistics update shows, the British iGaming sector is going from strength to strength.
Major regulatory update for 2023
Perhaps the biggest change in UK iGaming in 2023 was the introduction of a major new reform to gambling laws, which came into effect in April. The rules aim to protect vulnerable gamers in the smartphone era.
This is surely a welcome piece of legislation. Today, 43% of Brits (~£29 million people) gamble monthly, and the vast majority experience no trouble. Nonetheless, around 300,000 people are believed to be problem gamblers. To tackle this issue, the new laws will set stake limits, introduce alevy on operators to support gambling addiction treatment, and set up a gambling ombudsman (among other measures). You can read more about the new legislation here.
UK online gambling statistics in 2023
This summary of online UK gambling statistics for 2023 will give you an up-to-date assessment of remote gaming in the country.
How big is the UK online gaming market in 2023?
As with previous years, online betting and gambling represent the largest combined sector for gross gambling yield (GGY) in the UK’s gambling market.
According to the most recent data, online gaming in the UK took £6.4 billion GGY in 2022. That's a slight decrease from the £6.9 billion of online GGY in 2021. This is likely explained by the end of lockdowns - people can once again visit betting shops or gamble at casinos in person. Meanwhile, land-based gambling and gaming machines took £3.5 billion and £1.8 billion respectively (these figures exclude lotteries).
Casino games dominate revenue in the online gaming sector, taking £3.9 billion in GGY, of which £3 billion comes from slot games. Remote sportsbooks also hold significant market share in the UK, taking a total of £2.4 billion GGY in 2022.
Although these figures show a slight decline from the pandemic era, the UK’s Gambling Commission points out that new account registrations are still 9.1% higher than they were pre-pandemic.
Despite the overall growth in online gambling in the UK, there’s a notable downward trend in the number of licensed operators. By the end of 2022, there were 2,419 licensed operators in the UK, down from 2,819 in 2018. This indicates there’s some market consolidation happening.
The impact of reopening after the pandemic
During the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person gaming and betting was severely curtailed, and so remote gaming companies made hay. As we reported previously, online casino participation jumped 22.5% in 2021, while remote betting grew by 13.5%.
But what happened once people were allowed to go back to in-person betting after the pandemic? Would the rise in online gambling be a short-term phenomenon before people returned to their usual habits of in-person gaming?
Not according to the data. Statistics show that while in-person gaming has bounced back and online gaming has reduced slightly, the dominant position of web-based gambling companies appears stable.
Let’s look at GGY from in person and remote casinos to illustrate:
In person casinos
During the pandemic (2020-21)
In person casinos
Post pandemic (2021-22)
In person casinos
These figures suggest that some gamers who began gambling online during the pandemic have now returned to in-person betting. However, the majority of those who made the switch seem to be sticking with iGaming. If this wasn’t the case, we’d expect online gaming yield to be several million pounds lower, and in-person gaming to have bounced back to pre-pandemic levels.
Jobs in UK online gambling
It’s a great time to work in the online gambling industry in the UK. Projections indicate that we will reach 120,000 employees in the industry this year, an 8% increase on 2022’s figures.
And these jobs are well remunerated. According to TotalJobs, average online gaming industry salaries in 2023 are £57,500 – almost double the UK mean full time wage (£31,285). Even ‘lower’ paid jobs in the online gaming sector still pay a handsome £45,000.
Who participates in online gaming in the UK?
According to Gambling Commission statistics, 43% of the UK population participates in gambling every month, and 26% of people take part in online gambling. This is part of a clear upwards trend – online gambling participation stood at 19% in 2018.
Data also shows there are 32 million online gaming accounts in the country. So, if 26% of the UK population gambles online, that means there are about 17.5 million iGamers(total population is 67 million). This suggests that many people have accounts with more than one iGaming website.
Online gaming is popular across all age groups in the UK. However,this form of entertainment is most popular in the 45–54-year-old age bracket (35% gamble online), followed by 35-44-year-olds (31% gamble online). Online gaming is more popular among men in the UK (29% gamble online), but 24% of women also partake.
The National Lottery (and other lotteries) is by far the most popular form of online gaming in the UK – 16% gamble this way. This is followed by sports betting (4% of Brits), followed by horse races, footballpools, bingo and casino games. Unsurprisingly, football is by far the most popular sport to bet on.
The average UK online gambler spends £2.60 per week or £135.20 annually (that’s 3 pence more per week than the previous year).
In 2022, an Ipsos survey asked young people why they gamble.The top 5 reasons were:
1. Because it’s fun (78%)
2. I have a good chance of winning something (36%)
3. It gives me something to do (35%)
4. The games are simple to play (34%)
5. To try to win money (32%)
British gamblers are increasingly savvy when it comes to digital payments when they bet or gamble. Research reveals that 66% of people gamble using debit cards or eWallets.
UK online gambling and betting industry stays strong
Although there has been a slight decline in online gaming participation in the past year, this was largely to be expected – the increase in iGaming during the pandemic would have been very hard to sustain. Nevertheless, the demand for this kind of entertainment remains sky high, and the overall trend suggests online sportsbooks and online casinos have a bright future.
If you are looking to set up an online casino or sportsbook in the UK in 2023, you’ll need a way to accept customer payments. And this is where Xace helps.
We are a London & Malta based payment institution, and we provide specialised digital accounts for online gaming firms. Our iGaming business accounts are specialised to the needs of online gaming businesses, and they allow you to receive and send funds to and from eWallets and gaming payment processors, manage your accounts, use virtual debit cards, benefit from UK faster payments and muchmore.
After you’ve applied for your UK iGaming license, contact Xace to open an iGaming business account and begin receiving and making payments. Learn more about our online payment accounts here.