Online Casino Games Dominate UK Remote Gambling: £4 Bn GGY in 2022-23

Online Casino Games Dominate UK Remote Gambling

After a slight dip in revenue between April 2021 and March 2022, the UK online casino industry seems to be picking up steam again.

UK online casino industry slight dip in revenue

Between April 2022 and March 2023, the industry clocked £4 billion Gross Gambling Yield (GGY), occupying more than half the revenue pie of the country's remote gambling sector.

As per the Gambling Commission, this is a 4.8% increase compared to the previous period.

Here's how the statistics were broken down in the UKGC's latest report:

  • £15.1 billion in GGY from the entire gambling industry
    • £6.5 billion in GGY from remote casino, betting and bingo
      • £4.0 billion in GGY from remote casino games
        • £3.2 billion in GGY from online slots

New Joinees Spur the  Rise

The dominance of remote casino games has been attributed largely to the rise in new account registration with remote gambling operators.

A 10.6% increase from the previous period has been reported overall. Of these new players, the number of active accounts has gone up by 4% to 36.4 million.

Funds totaling £877.5 million were reportedly held in customer accounts, which the UKGC says has declined by 3.6% from the previous period.

Interestingly, the number of UKGC-licensed operators has also been on a steady decline since 2010.

online casino UKGC-licensed operators decline since 2010

Possible reasons are high operator taxes and strict regulations which aren't common in most other gambling markets.

All Eyes On Online Slot Games 

The UK's online slots seem to be the most popular remote casino games, bringing in a whopping £3.2 billion in GGY.

That's nearly 80% of the GGY generated by remote casino games in the UK!

GGY generated remote casino games

This is rather surprising given the Gambling Commission's desperate measures to slow down slot gaming in the country.

If we take into account the rules such as the 2.5-second delay between slots and the bans on turbo mode, spin stop, multiplay, bonus buy, and even autoplay, slot gaming in the UK looks rather boring.

Yet, the Gambling Commission has reported an 8.6% increase compared to the previous period.

The reasons, we believe, are multiple.

  1. The lockdown effect: The shift towards online slot gambling became intense during the Covid-19 lockdown when more punters started looking for easy access to the easiest-to-play casino games from the comfort of their homes. There's been no looking back ever since.
online slot gambling: the lockdown effect
  1. Innovation in game design: Slot developers are innovating with new themes, features, and mechanics in their games, making them more appealing and engaging to players, thus driving increased participation. Part of this effort is because of the bans on interesting features such as bonus buy and autoplay.
  2. Marketing and advertising: Aggressive promotion by casinos and slot developers especially through targeted advertisements has resulted in more players getting enticed.
  3. Psychological factors: Slots are no-brainer games. All you need to do is set a bet and spin. And then, there's the excitement of potential wins. This could be a psychologically driving factor for the increase in online slot gaming in the UK.

This also explains the lack of substantial growth and even a decline in the popularity of other online games such as blackjack, roulette, peer to peer poker compared to slots.

lack of substantial growth of other online games

A Pronounced Disinterest in Online Betting and Bingo

The period between April 2008 and March 2015 had witnessed a decent rise in online betting.

However, the industry has been on a rollercoaster over the years.

The recent report states a £2.3 billion GGY with only a 0.1% increase from the previous period, which itself saw a 13.4% decline from the previous.

The growth of remote bingo is even more disappointing with a £173.6 million GGY and a 5.6% decline reported compared to the previous period.

None of these industries has been able to see their graphs peaking like that of online casino games.

Here's the overview:

Online betting industry ggy graphs peaking

This rather obvious disinterest in online betting and bingo can stem from multiple factors. Here are some, in our opinion:

  • Novelty wear-off: The activities might have initially garnered attention due to their novelty factor, but over time, the excitement simply faded away.
  • Tech fatigue: Some experiences are better enjoyed offline. Players might experience tech fatigue and bet on sports or play bingo offline, contributing to a decline in engagement online.

This is evident from the two graphs below. Revenue from online engagement was the highest during the lockdown period when offline activities were paused.

The recovery of non-remote betting and bingo in the recent report says it all.

recovery of non-remote betting and bingo
recovery of non-remote betting and bingo

Remote Casino Gaming Rules  Nonetheless

Online casino gaming outperforms all the other gambling niches in the UK, including non-remote casinos, non-remote arcades, and remote and non-remote lotteries, consuming 26.5% of the pie.

Online casino outperforms all the other gambling niches in the UK

This dominance underscores a significant shift in player preferences and habits in the UK. Remote casino gaming has emerged as the frontrunner, hinting at the need for adaptability of the country's gambling industry.

With extensive experience in the professional iGaming industry since 2015 and thousands of casino articles and reviews under his belt, Mattias is a seasoned expert well-versed in the world of online casino gambling.
Having worked with industry giants such as Betsson Group and earning recognition as an expert in the UK online casino industry, Mattias brings a wealth of knowledge and credibility to his role as a dedicated iGaming journalist.
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