There are still plenty of people in the UK trying to beat the dealer, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty from Brexit. That’s the findings of the latest report by the Gambling Commission. Needless to say, the capital is at the very core of this thriving industry, accounting for a significant chunk of the country’s casinos, bookies and betting enthusiasts.
A thriving industry
Gambling industry statistics are released twice each year, every May and November. In May 2019, the statistics showed mixed results for the UK gambling industry, but a strong showing overall. The total gross gambling yield (GGY) for October 2017 – September 2018 was an impressive £14.5 billion, up from £13.9 billion in the year prior.
Broken down, the remote sector saw a GGY of £5.6 billion. That includes all forms of gambling using remote connection, such as internet, telephone or TV – as opposed to in-store. Remote gambling now accounts for a record 38.8% share of the total gambling market.
Elsewhere, there was a slight decrease in the number of UK betting shops and bingo premises, down by 1.5% and 1.1% respectively. On the flipside, the country saw a 2.4% increase in the total number of gaming machines compared to the year between April 2016 – March 2017.
Comparing to other sectors
While those figures are far from ground-breaking, they’re especially impressive considering the downturn in other UK industries over the past few years. A report by the TUC found that GDP growth has slowed in three fifths of industrial sectors. Everything from construction to manufacturing has suffered, with a knock-on effect for industries like marketing, retail and accounting.
The gambling industry has stayed relatively strong despite the uncertainty in other sectors. How? In part, it’s down to its wide appeal. Gone are the days where gambling was just about betting in-store. Gaming machines, bingo halls and casinos have given the industry a more universal appeal.
Of course, on top of that there’s the vast world of online gambling. From slots and online bingo to digital casinos, there is a whole world of variety when it comes to online games. The industry has modernised, allowing customers to play from their phone or tablet as well as their laptop or desktop computer. It’s now easier than every for customers to play their favourite games wherever they may be.
Also among the Gambling Commission findings was a slight increase in the total number of British casinos. There was a total of 152 UK casinos in September 2018, up from 151 six months earlier. This is made up of casinos all around the country, with typically two or three in each city.
However, in London there are currently around 30 casinos, including Britain’s biggest casino – Aspers. Opened in 2011, the casino covers 65,000 square feet with a 150-seat poker room and 40 roulette and blackjack tables. It was the first “supercasino”, permitted in the 2005 Gambling Act, and has since attracted customers from across London and further afield.
For casinos alone, the capital accounts for almost 1 in 5. This is just a taste of the role London plays in the UK’s gambling industry more broadly. It’s fair to say, the city is also the capital of the British gambling industry.