Home Business Insights & Advice UK gambling industry statistics 2020–2024: Analysis and market overview

UK gambling industry statistics 2020–2024: Analysis and market overview

by Sarah Dunsby
28th May 24 10:31 am

Although the retail betting sector dipped during COVID-19, it has been progressively rebounding since then. Most UK gambling operators now record more signups and participation on their platforms. There has been a global rise in betting and casinos – particularly owing to the striking down of PASPA in the US, the world’s richest countries and one of the most potentially lucrative markets for operators to dive into. The UK is no exception.

Market trends for the UK shows increased betting activity

With the advancement in technology, mobile devices especially, more people engage in gambling as it’s very easy to access on their phones without the need to step out of their comfort zones. As technology advances, this trend is expected to continue to grow. It was estimated that 66% of adults gambled in 2021 and about 43% gambled monthly. Sports betting was the most popular UK Internet gambling activity in January 2024; according to YouGov, 47% of UK bettors have bet at online sportsbooks.

The National Lottery is increasingly unpopular amongst the younger age demographic, although still habitual for older bettors – this said, the National Lottery occupies an oddity within the gambling industry, being both state-run and not often considered ‘gambling’ in the traditional sense in the public consciousness. Around 30% of UK citizens play the lottery regularly.

In recent years, live games gambling has also gained popularity and is experiencing a positive trend, with more gamblers engaging than ever before. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but reports from gambling companies indicate increased engagement in this space.

Stats deepdive – the industry in numbers

In online gambling, bingo, and casino games, revenue grew by about £3.1 billion—GGY reports this for April to September 2020. Revenue increased by 6.3% from 2020 to 2021. After that, 2021–2022 saw an 8.0% increase.

UK online bets totalled £5.7 billion in 2020, and in 2023, UK online sports betting was worth £6.4 billion GGY. When you compare this to the £6.9 billion in online GGY in 2021, it’s not even close. Meanwhile, £1.80 billion was made from slot machines and £3.5 billion from land casinos.

Lots of people also play casino games online; this activity brings in around £3.9 billion a year (GGY). £3 billion of this amount comes from slot games – by far the most lucrative segment of online casinos owing to their fast playing nature. The UKGC recently brought in further restrictions for online slots to decrease problematic behavious and encourage users to spend responsibly.

Online sportsbooks in the UK also had a big part of the market in 2022, they brought in £2.4 billion GGY. Statistics from Statista estimate that Internet gaming will generate £12.6 billion in 2024. Online gambling is predicted to be valued at £5.91 billion.

A study published by UKGC compares the fourth quarters of 2022/2023 and 2023/24, showing how online betting is rising. The comparison focuses on market changes during the same time period year-to-year. Key takeaways are:

  • Since last year, the total online GGY has grown by 5%, reaching £1.4 billion in the last quarter.
  • For licensed online operators, the most lucrative sectors continue to involve live betting and slots.
  • Live betting at GGY increased by 2%, to a total of £565 million, compared to 2023.
  • The online bets and spins total reached a record of £24 billion—representing a 10% increase.

UK consumer gambling behaviour

The behaviour of gamblers in the UK is a significant factor that affects the industry. Here are some pointers regarding the market behaviour.

1. Number of UK gamblers

According to recent statistics, there has been an increase in the number of gamblers, about 24.7 million gambled in 2022 and this represents 47% of adults. This number is 5% greater than 2021, which indicates increased gaming interest.

2. Consumer demographics

The demographic profile of UK gamblers reveals many facts. Although people of all ages gamble, the age group that gambles the most is between 45 and 54 years old, according to Statista. Men are widely more likely to gamble than women across all ages. Despite some preconceived notions, it remains true that those with higher income streams are more likely to gamble.

3. Gambling platform and activity

There has been a substantial movement in customers’ preferences in the UK gaming sector, with online gambling booming with each passing day. It accounted for half of industry revenue in 2022, mostly because mobile and online platforms were readily available and convenient. Regardless, traditional gambling activities like casinos and betting shops still remain popular.

4. Average spending

Over the years, the average spending of UK gamblers has also increased; betting is expected to cost adults £660 per year by 2022. The total sum increased by 4% from 2021. It’s crucial to realise that this amount differs across gaming companies, but most Internet gamblers spend more than their offline counterparts.

Emerging trends in the UK gambling industry

Several large operators dominate the UK gambling sector, so differentiating between them can be quite difficult, which is why bettors in the UK use resources like casino review sites as a guide –one of the more popular and trusted being https://www.casinosherlock.com. These review sites do a fantastic job of sifting through operators’ diverse portfolios, sorting and reviewing a constantly evolving market.

Blockchain technology is being examined to develop decentralised gambling platforms. It encourages more adoption of private coins in crypto casinos and beyond.

Innovative technologies like VR and AR are crucial as they provide immersive and interesting betting, improving the gambling experience. As we’ve already seen, livestreamed gambling seems to be seeing a surge, and these technologies only deepen the ‘genuine, in-person’ nature of the experience.

Furthermore, the gambling industry has significantly emphasised responsible gambling. Operators and regulators develop steps to encourage safer gambling practices. Some strategies include self-exclusion programs, deposit limitations, reality checks, and increased access to support services. To make the business more socially responsible, they are addressing concerns about problem gambling.

Predictions for the UK gambling future growth

Experts believe that as operators continue to evolve to meet the needs of gamblers, more people are going to engage. Mobile and online betting would, according to the stats and wider user trends, lead the charge.

These platforms are designed to be user-friendly and with a new tech-savvy ‘iGeneration’ now aging into adulthood, a reem of potential new customers arrives every year.

Amidst this growth, the sector will likely be confronted with problems – these include greater regulatory scrutiny, responsible gaming concerns, and competition from growing countries.

AI looks at player behaviour and predicts their wants and influencing factors, going beyond just entertainment. The UK industry embracing AI will bring further advancements in the gambling scene as AI bots are taking the place of customer service reps and can see and analyse player habits to provide better support.

Consolidation and mergers among operators seems almost inevitable due to the industry’s highly competitive nature. Businesses aim to increase their market share and broaden their range of products and services. Regulators will be watching closely to ensure that this hyper-competitive sectors allows users genuine choice in where they spend.

Regulatory shifts could also impact the expansion of the gaming sector in the United Kingdom in the coming years – there is an expectation that regulatory agencies and operators will emphasise responsible gambling more.

The increasing interest of younger age groups in betting is another reason experts project market growth in the gambling industry. Most people who bet online are below 35 years old, while people who go to land-based casinos are usually above 40 years old.

All told, the UK gambling industry has shown its strength and flexibility over the past few years, this is clear from the fact that sales keep going up and customers’ habits are always changing. Due to how easy it is to use online platforms, the online gambling business has become the main force behind this growth. However, the retail gaming sector is still a major source of income for the industry as a whole.

Market predictions look solid – and provided no heavy restrictions are placed by governmental and regulatory bodies it would look to be a huge decade for the iGaming and sports betting sectors.


The above information does not constitute any form of advice or recommendation by London Loves Business and is not intended to be relied upon by users in making (or refraining from making) any finance decisions. Appropriate independent advice should be obtained before making any such decision. London Loves Business bears no responsibility for any gains or losses.

Leave a Comment


Sign up to our daily news alerts

[ms-form id=1]