UK shoots ahead: GGY £130bn in Q4

UK shoots ahead: GGY £130bn in Q4

Gross gambling yield (GGY) is 5% up year on year (YoY) for Great Britain in a quarterly increase that beat expectations.

The latest round of industry statistics is in from the UK Gambling Commission. As always, they’re enlightening, showing that despite the chaotic backdrop of gambling reform, the online and land-based sectors grew in Jan-March.

Q4 GGY Breakdown

Online Gambling: sports and slots driving growth
“Latest data, from January to March 2023, and also covering the Cheltenham festival, shows total online Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) increased 5 percent, compared to the same period last year, to £1.3 billion. The increase was driven by the real event betting (13 percent) and slots (2 percent).”

This is quite self-explanatory; the market is growing at a rate of 5% compared with q4 of the preceding year. Two areas that drove the increase are real event betting (sports betting) and increased slot machine play. Sports betting showed the most significant growth.

Interestingly, the behaviour of slot players varied slightly, as noted by the Commission; “Slots GGY increased 2 percent to £552 million year-on-year for this reporting period. The number of spins increased 9 percent in the quarter to 19.5 billion, while the number of average monthly active accounts increased 15 percent to 3.9 million. As a result of the increase in actives, the number of spins per session decreased 7 percent between Quarter 4 2021 to 2022 and Quarter 4 2022 to 2023.”

So there’s been an increase in the number of active slot accounts (players) and therefore spins, but overall, the average spins per session went down due to the higher number of active accounts.

Safer gambling indicators

Along with the rise in online slots and betting, the statistics show:

  • There was a 10% increase in slot seasons lasting more than an hour.
  • The total number of gaming sessions increased by 17%.
  • The average playing session is 17 mins – this remained unchanged in the new statistics.

While not a positive for safer gambling indicators, the increase in the length of gambling sessions is not unexpected, as the UKGCs slot game design rules now limit spin speeds to a minimum of 2.5 seconds.

Land-based growth

Land-based growth showed a 6% rise YoY as gaming machine GGY increased, with the average spend per season up to £12.26 and the average number of spins rising to 131. Moreover, GGY for self-service betting machines grew by 28%.

Earnings amid a chaotic backdrop of a year

Overall, the UK gambling market is growing, and the increase in gross gambling yield comes despite the chaotic backdrop of the UK’s gambling reform. This culminated with the publication of the White Paper just a few months ago.

The UK gambling industry has patiently awaited the publication of the White Paper while the future regulation has been debated in the halls of Westminster and across the front pages of mainstream media, causing uncertainty. The White Paper lays the foundations for a legal update to UK gambling laws, making them fit for the digital age. It results from years of work with more than six gambling ministers presiding over the process.

The new measures aim to protect players with 24/7 gambling access via smartphones. The new regulations include empowering the UKGC and introducing a statutory levy and new rules for:

  • max slot stakes of £2-15, with lower limits for 18-25s
  • bonus terminology and wagering requirements
  • affordability checks
  • As the upcoming changes (with the White Paper now published, the final rules will be developed after consultation periods by the UKGC) are expected to affect revenue as a by-product of creating a more responsible and sustainable market, they’ve been keenly debated.

However, the increased GGY for Q4 shows the market is performing strongly and on target with expectations which estimates a CAGR for 2023-2027 of 4.41% despite the climate of change.

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