Gaming machines have taken on greater importance for betting shop revenue in recent times with the increase in mobile betting meaning less of the population now head to the bookmakers to place a sporting bet.
The fixed odds gaming machines have come under extensive scrutiny at the same time with the mainstream press largely calling for them to be cracked down upon. This report takes a look at the Gambling Commission’s end of year analysis of gaming machines in Great Britain.
There are various types and categories of these gaming machines though an average of gross value of sales across categories was established. Between April 2013 and March 2014 this was £61.94m, whilst the latest figure (April 2014 – March 2015) this figure fell to £43.77m meaning a total decrease of £18.17m.
This may suggest operators are becoming less enamoured with gaming machines, perhaps unsurprisingly after the Government increased the tax rates levied on gaming machines from 15 to 20%. However the machines in LBOs, predominently of the B2 category with a maximum £100 stake and £500 prize, are still revenue leaders.
The GGY from B2 machines in betting shops accounted for 66% of machine GGY across all machine types and gambling sectors in the period April 2014-March 2015, compared with 64% in April 2010-March 2011.
LBOs are one of the main machine operators in the UK now, but they are also used by the other gaming sectors. Between April 2014 and March 2015, betting shops accounted for 21% of the overall number of gaming machines across all licensed sectors.
Across a five year period the number of gaming machines has fallen by 16% in adult gaming centers (AGCs), whilst the number of licensed AGCs itself fell from 503 to 495 between March 2014 and September 2015. The most dramatic decline in machine numbers came in this same time period, from 53,072 to 49,031.
The number of gaming machines in casinos similarly fell from 2,866 (April 2013-March 2014) to 2,822 (April 2014-March 2015) showing a fall of 44 machines. Despite this revenue from them actually rose, as it has done across a five year period to the tune of 42%.
The number in bingo clubs rose quite dramatically and now stands at 55,157 as of March 2015. This is an increase of 4,648 from the last reported period in March 2014. Unsurprisingly then the amount generated by them increased too. Over the five year period this has seen a huge and continuous rise from £224.18m in March 2011 to £301.69m in March 2015.
During this same period there was a decrease in sales of new machines from suppliers across the industry of 6,139. Before April 2014 to March 2015 (16,509), each of the previous three years noted in the report showed sales in excess of 21,000 machines.