The UK’s retail betting sector has continued to bear the brunt of last April’s FOBT ruling, with data released by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) showing a 12.1% decline in the number of shops between March 2019 and October 2019.
The number of betting shops on the UK high street dropped to 7,315 in September 2019, while the total number of gambling premises was reported to be 9,745. The decrease correlates with a 4.4% decrease in the industry’s workforce, with 98,174 employees working across the sector.
Following the ruling to drop FOBT maximum stakes from £100 to £2, gross gambling yield (GGY) for B2 machines took a 46.4% hit compared to the period April 2018 – March 2019, with UKGC data showing that GGY for the terminals amounted to £624m.
On the contrary, B3 machines generated £1.3bn in GGY between October 2018 and September 2019, marking an 18.5% increase.
Overall GGY for gaming machines, excluding those that only required a local authority permit, fell by 11.8%, totalling £2.5bn.
Overall GGY for the gambling industry dropped to £14.3bn, a fall of 0.5%.This figure dropped further when excluding Lottery-type gambling products, with the data showing that GGY amounted to £10.5bn – a fall of 1.9%.
Despite the bleak outlook for UK retail betting, the industry’s online sector appeared to buck the trend with across-the-board growth.
The remote betting sector saw a 4.3% growth to £2.1bn between April 2018 and March 2019, while remote bingo yield was £198m, an increase of 12.5%
And while land-based casinos saw a 0.6% drop in GGY to £1.1bn, the remote casino sector grew by 3.9% to £3.2bn.