December 1, 2023 3 min read

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UK Gambling Industry Records Historic Revenues amidst Online Slots Surge

Despite the nation’s uncertain regulatory environment, online gaming is on the rise, fueling concerns of rising gambling harm

The UK’s betting and gaming industry has achieved record-breaking revenues, surpassing £15.1 billion ($19.11 billion) in the year ending March 2023. The latest data released by the Gambling Commission (UKGC) on Thursday reveals that the gambling products associated with the highest addiction risk drove most of this growth, prompting renewed discussions on the best ways to protect consumers.

The UKGC’s data highlights that, excluding the national lottery, the gambling sector made £10.95 billion ($13.86 billion), as most of this revenue came from losses on digital slot machine games, which have witnessed a staggering surge. These slot machine revenues have more than doubled since 2016, reaching an all-time high of £3.2 billion ($4.05 billion). 

Online slots now constitute nearly 30% of the industry’s total income, a significant leap from the 23% reported before the pandemic. Dr. Matt Gaskell, overseeing the NHS Northern Gambling Service, commented on the matter for The Guardian, stating that these products were engineered to exploit decision-making, prolong play, and generate unaffordable losses.

This data confirms that the centerpieces of the gambling industry are the most harmful products.

Dr. Matt Gaskell

According to the UKGC’s findings, slot machine players incur heavier losses than those using other betting products. Statistics indicate that during the pandemic, when online slots play increased, the average spend per player per month on these machines was £67, substantially higher than the £36 spent on other casino products and £45 on real event betting.

The Government Is Considering Possible Solutions

A November UKGC report revealed that around 2.5% of the adult population in Britain, roughly equating to an estimated 1.3 million individuals, might be facing challenges associated with gambling. Carolyn Harris, chair of a cross-parliamentary group of MPs examining gambling harm, urged the industry to take note of these figures and cooperate with the government to reach a customer-centric solution.

Such alarming trends have placed increasing pressure on the government to complete the ongoing consultations on lowering slot stake limits, underscoring the urgency for robust regulation in this domain. The UK government’s efforts to refine its gambling white paper through collaboration with industry stakeholders are taking longer than many safe gambling advocates hoped, raising concerns regarding the industry’s negative societal impact.

UK lawmakers are considering a £2 limit for online slots, which should significantly lower the chance of unsustainable losses. While some operators have expressed concerns regarding the impact of such measures on their profitability, the UKGC’s data suggests the industry will remain sustainable. Lawmakers have until the 2024 elections to finalize the legislation and ensure customer safety.

Deyan is an experienced writer, analyst, and seeker of forbidden lore. He has approximate knowledge about many things, which he is always willing to apply when researching and preparing his articles. With a degree in Copy-editing and Proofreading, Deyan is able to ensure that his work writing for GamblingNews is always up to scratch.

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