New UK govt social media advertising rules welcomed by BGC

UK Gambling registers highest slots activity in close of 2023 

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published its latest datasets tracking  participation in UK gambling up to December 2023. 

The Commission continues to gather data from the “biggest operators covering 80% of the online gambling market” – an initiative started in March 2020, monitoring gambling behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As stated, “this release compares Quarter 3 (Q3) of financial year 2022 to 2023, with Q3 of 2023 to 2024, looking at how the market has changed in comparative periods over a year.”

Stakeholders are advised not to make comparisons on industry statistics as data may “include free bets and bonuses and does not include data from all operators.”

Data for Q4 2023 registered a 4% increase in Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of online gambling to £1.3bn (Q42022:£1.24bn) attributed to increased activity in slots and real event betting.

Sports betting datasets highlighted a doubling in GGY activity registered by real-event betting during December 2023,  a month that generated a real event betting GGY of £196m and participating accounts of 5.7m.

Of significance, datasets for online casinos revealed peak Q3 GGY on slots of £618m (+6%), which the Commission noted as “the highest recorded GGY slots quarter” since it started collecting data in March 2020.

On participation, Q3 2023 data revealed  that the slots vertical had reached a peak of 4,206,392 accounts during December, followed by 3,974,363 in November and 3,839,465 in October. 

Figures cited, indicate an increase from the same period in 2022, when the highest number of active accounts is again visible in December – with a total of 3,881,858 actives per the vertical. 

Tracking retail performance, the GGY of Licensed Betting Offices (LBOs) rose by 0.5% to £563 million during Q3. However, datasets noted a 4% decline in the total bet placed on retail services to £3.3bn.  Retail data showed a 10% decline in wagering on Self-Service Betting Terminals (SSBTs) and 3% decline on LBO machines

Referencing safer gambling metrics, online gambling data showed a 3% increase in the number of slots sessions exceeding one hour. However, there was a decrease in the average session length to 17 minutes and a 2% reduction in total customer interactions.

Concluding its update, the Commission informs that it is investigating the “categorisation of certain products, which may result in the changing of some data between verticals, however this should have no impact on the overall totals.”

When interpreting data, stakeholders were informed that active accounts may be counted multiple times in metrics, with potential double-counting in quarter comparisons due to participation in multiple verticals within a quarter.

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