Technavio Pegs UK Gambling at 5.36% CAGR for 2023-28 – We Politely Disagree

Technavio Pegs  UK Gambling banner

Over the past decade and a half, the UK gambling market has steadily grown to become a thriving ecosystem.

It is now one of the most stable economic powerhouses of the country, fetching revenue from casino games, sports betting, bingo, arcades, and lotteries.

Evidence lies in the statistics reported by the Gambling Commission, which reveal a £15.1 billion Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) between 2022-23, with online casino games dominating.

That's nearly a 2x growth since 2008!

Technavio statistics reported by the Gambling Commission GGY between 2022-23

Now, a fresh report by the global market research company Technavio forecasts a 5.36% CAGR from 2023 to 2028, indicating ‘accelerated growth momentum' in the market.

Here's an overview of their findings:

Technavio forecasts a 5.36% CAGR from 2023 to 2028

According to this report, the market size of the UK gambling industry will grow by $3.28 billion (£2.59 billion as per current conversion rates) by 2028.

The year-over-year growth rate in 2024 has been projected 5.22%.

So far so good!

But Technavio's forecast considers multiple factors and not all of them sound convincing.

These are their key drivers:

  • Rising popularity of online gambling
  • Mobile penetration
  • Artificial Intelligence

Rising Popularity of Online Gambling in the UK 

Online gambling within the British gambling industry has exploded in the past decade hitting £6.5 billion GGY in 2022-2023.

Rising Popularity of Online Gambling in the UK hitting £6.5 billion GGY in 2022-2023

We believe a major reason is the convenience of iGaming, which allows you to play at licensed and regulated gambling sites from the comfort of your couch.

Many of these sites are fast-paying as well, letting you meet your money instantly or at least within 24 hours.

Casino comparer platform is with us on this as we underscore the importance of transaction speed, which makes UK players choose the speediest paying casinos online.

Alongside, easy access to an ever-increasing range of games (online slots in particular), has boosted the growth of the market in recent times.

Meanwhile, Technavio attributes this dominance to fewer restrictions in the UK, unlike in countries such as India and China where bans have birthed grey markets.

While this could be true, the UKGC is still one of the strictest gambling regulators in the world. Restrictions are pretty intense in the country as well.

If you are aware of the 2.5-second delay between slot spins and the ban on features like bonus buy, spin stop and autoplay, you'd realise online gambling at licensed UK casinos can be quite dull.

However, the country has facilities to license online gambling operators locally, which India and China don't.

This helps the UK keep the revenue within the country and showcase it as “growth.”

In reality, strict regulations have been chasing away an increasing number of operators over the years and making the existing ones feel like they're walking on eggshells.

Examples include the proposed exodus of Mr. Green and the exit of Betsson, two of the biggies.

In short, it would be unfair to compare the remote gambling market of the UK to India's and China's when the latter haven't legalised any.

But we partly agree with Technavio when it says online platforms remove barriers present in land-based casinos. Like we said, it's all about the convenience offered.

Rising Popularity of Online Gambling in the UK hitting £6.5 billion GGY in 2022-2023

Even then, this reasoning cannot explain the decline in online sports betting and bingo and the rise in their offline counterparts.

Rising Popularity of online sports betting and bingo in the UK

Mobile Penetration in the UK

Mobile gambling is another powerful force behind the growth of the UK's remote gambling sector.

Its soaring popularity can be attributed to:

  • The number of mobile phone users
  • Internet penetration

Global data and business intelligence platform, Statista reports a 15% increase in mobile phone usage in the UK between 2005 and 2022.

Global data and business intelligence platform

The company also reported that about 98% of the country's population use the internet as of January 2024.

Global data and business intelligence platform reported that about 98% of the country's population use the internet as of January 2024

We believe the widespread use of mobile devices coupled with the increasing adoption of the internet has primarily and positively impacted remote gambling in the UK.

However, Technavio appears to have dismissed the role of the internet entirely.

Additionally, the company suggests that the younger population has significantly expanded the reach of online gambling in the country.

This claim seems to match Statista's report, which indicates that 51% of mobile gamers in 2023 are between the ages of 16 to 24.

Mobile Penetration in the UK match Statista's report

However, this report is about mobile phone gaming penetration in the UK, and not specifically mobile gambling.

If we are to go by the Gambling Commission's study of player behaviour from 2015 to 2023, here's how participation in online gambling varies by age:

  • 16 to 24 (15%)
  • 25 to 34 (23%)
  • 35 to 44 (26%)
  • 45 to 54 (26%)
  • 55 to 64 (23%)
  • 65 and up (14%)

The report also indicates that participation has risen in all age groups over the period, with no single demographic solely responsible for the increase.

We highly doubt the stats would change for mobile gambling.

In this regard, the only Technavio statement we agree with is that mobile advertisements have effectively reached untapped groups, encouraging them to try online gambling in the UK.

Also, that's only part of the driving force being an entire market's growth.

The Role of  Artificial Intelligence 

2023 will go down in history as the year of the Artificial Intelligence boom.

Yes, everyone is hallucinating AI these days.

This might explain why Technavio cited it as a key factor in the growth of the £15.1 billion UK gambling industry.

But if we take a look at the bigger picture, AI is more likely to be implemented in the online gambling sector in particular.

For years now, chatbots have been answering live chat queries before human customer service representatives.

New online casinos even implement AI for suggesting games and bonuses these days.

Additionally, AI will likely be used in iGaming market research to analyse player behaviour, gather data for decision-making, and tackle issues related to problem gambling.

We agree with Technavio on this. AI could also spur innovation in game development and casino features (we're just thinking out loud).

However, it might be a tad far-fetched to think AI can “manifest” through live dealer gaming, mimicking traditional gameplay on the digital front.

Wouldn't that equate live games to any other RNG game?

We understand any sector can only enjoy sustained growth if it continually innovates. The UK gambling industry is no different.

However, claiming that AI has driven growth in the UK's gambling industry would be an overstatement.

It's new—still taking its baby steps. Maybe it's strong enough for a nudge, but certainly not a push as strong as £15.1 billion!

If at all we must talk about technological advancement, we need to consider blockchain gambling via web3 casinos, which is not yet legal under the UK gambling laws.

To conclude, tax-free winnings still attract punters in the UK—be it online or offline.

On a lighter note, here's a beautiful infographic by the Gambling Commission explaining why people in the country gamble:

Infographic by the Gambling Commission people in the country gamble
  • Social Play: enjoying the activity with family and friends for fun (offline bingo, sports betting, and arcades).
  • Wise Decision: flexing gambling skills confidently for excitement or experience (sports betting)
  • Me Time: playing for self-enjoyment, especially when feeling lucky or to kill time (online casino games and slots).
  • Just What I Do: playing by force of habit even at the cost of losing (lottery, scratch cards, instant win games).
  • Along For The Ride: disinterested, but playing for company (lottery, scratch cards, bingo, arcades).
  • Money To Burn: Richie Rich gambling spontaneously because there's nothing to lose (scratch cards, instant win games, online bingo).
  • Feeling Lucky: playing to prove their skills because perhaps lady luck would smile (any gambling games with preference for fruit and slot machines).
  • For The Money: unmindful gambling with high hopes of winning big (lotteries).

These are the people contributing to the industry's growth—real players with varied preferences.

£15.1 billion doesn't fall out of the sky, you see!

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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