The latest UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) data has shown a steady increase in betting activity during Q4 of the 2022/23 financial year, partly influenced by key wagering events taking place during the quarter.
Commission data showed a 5% increase in gross gambling yield (GGY) from January to March 2023 against the previous year to £1.3bn (2021/22: £1.18bn), with a 9% rise in bets and/or spins and a 9% rise in the number of monthly active accounts.
On the high-street, GGY for licensed betting offices (LBOs) grew 6% to nearly $585m (£550m) in the 12 months between the two quarters. This was driven by a small increase in the number of bets and spins at these premises of 2%.
Much of this could also be attributed to the Cheltenham Festival taking place this year, with the four-day horse racing event usually a time of heightened activity for the thousands of betting shops across the UK.
In fact, GGY for real event betting wagering increased 13% YoY to £555m (£482.8m), with total bets and activities in the sector increasing with 19% and 9% respectively.
The UKGC itself noted that the Cheltenham Festival occurring during the quarter likely boosted engagement, whilst the return of domestic league football after the World Cup may also have been a factor.
Meanwhile, customer engagement with slot games was also on the rise over the past year. GGY for this segment rose 2% to £552m (£541m), with the number of spins increasing 9% and the average number of active accounts up 15% to 3.9 million per month.
Additionally, the number of slot sessions lasting longer than an hour increased 10% to 8.8 million, although the average session length has remained consistent at 17 minutes for the fourth quarter in a row, with just 6.4% of all sessions lasting over an hour.
On the other hand, GGY for other gaming verticals including casinos dropped 3% to £153.11m (£158.66m), whilst poker GGY also fell 7% from £19.4m in Q4 2021/22 to £18m this year.
Lastly, on social responsibility, the number of customer interactions fell 12% to 2.9 million, although the number of direct interactions undertaken by operators increased by 31%.
This may be of significance as the Gambling Act review White Paper was published one month after the quarter ended, with proposals for operator social responsibility and compliance.