According to figures from the Gambling Commission, online slots are the reason for the rise in gambling revenue in the UK. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Record high revenues
According to figures from the Gambling Commission, online slots are the reason for the rise in gambling revenue in the UK.
Betting and gaming industry revenue was £15.01 billion ($19 billion) in the year to March 2023. Excluding the UK National Lottery, this figure was £10.95 billion ($13.85 billion). The increase in sales came after COVID-19 hit the gaming industry, forcing the cancellation of many sporting events and the closure of casinos and betting shops.
Many bettors turned to online gambling
As a result, many bettors turned to online gambling. This was evident as online gambling revenue during the pandemic reached a record 4.01 billion pounds ($5.07 billion) by the end of March 2021. That figure has now reached a new high of 4.03 billion pounds ($5.10 billion).
Figures from the Gambling Commission show that slot machine players lose more money than those who play other games. During the pandemic, average spending on slots was £67 ($84) per month, compared to £36 ($45) per month for other gambling products and £45 ($56) for real-event gambling.
Lower spin limits
The Gambling Commission figures come as the British government considers limiting online slot spins to £2 ($2.53) and £15 ($18.97). A stricter limit is likely to apply to players under 25, according to the government’s gambling white paper.
There has previously been no legal limit for online slots, but some operators, such as Flutter Entertainment, have introduced voluntary limits.
Designed to extend play, exploit decision making and create prohibitive losses.”
Dr. Matt Gaskell, who runs the NHS Northern Gambling Service, said online slots “are designed to prolong play, exploit decision-making and generate prohibitive losses. It is a common problem in our clinics.”
Problem gambling in the UK
As the UK sees a rise in problem gambling, the Mayor of London has been urged to ban “harmful gambling advertising” on Transport for London (TfL).
During his 2021 election campaign, London Mayor Sadiq Khan promised to instruct TfL to “come forward with plans to extend the ban on harmful gambling advertising on the network”. He has not yet done so, ostensibly because the government has not defined what constitutes harmful gambling.
Calls for a ban on gambling advertising in the UK come as problem gambling rates in the country could be significantly higher than the previous estimate of 0.3 percent. A new study published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has revealed that gambling rates in the UK could be eight times higher than previously thought.