The UK gambling industry is ever-changing, but there is one thing that is a constant – more and more people are gambling online. The land-based casino industry is now being challenged by the booming iGaming scene and the latest figures published by the UK Gambling Commission show exactly that.
It’s interesting to note that the North is one of the most casino-friendly regions, both in terms of the number of existing land-based casinos, but also when it comes to land-based casino attendance. However, that doesn’t mean that Northerners are less likely to gamble online.
While there are more casinos in the North-West, compared to the North-East, it seems Geordies are quite keen on gambling, as one report from 2016 shows that the North-East has the highest gambling rates in the UK. According to this report, 57% of all adults in the North-East confirmed that they have gambled in the past 12 years, as opposed to just 41% on a national level.
Online Gambling Expansion
The figures really speak for themselves when it comes to the online gambling growth. The increased online gambling activity resulted in an increase of the total gross gambling yield (GGY). The total GGY for the period April 2017 – March 2018 was £14.4 billion, which is a 4.5% surge compared to the previous 12-month period.
If we have a look at the figures only for the remote sector, the difference is even more significant, as online gambling grew by 13.7% compared to the previous 12-month period. The total gross gambling yield for the remote industry was just a bit short of £5.4 billion.
One category in which the growth has been even more impressive is the online slots sector, for which the total GGY came to £2 billion, or 19.3%. So, we can expect British players to keep on wagering online which will surely motivate online slots developers to keep on producing exciting slot games such as Starburst, Secrets of the Phoenix, 99 Time and others.
The total number of employees has also grown, albeit by only 0.6%. However, the market share of the remote sector came to 37.3%, which is a 3% increase. It is interesting that despite the fact that the remote industry is on the rise and a chief contributor to the overall GGY growth, there was actually one more land-based casino in September 2018, compared to March 2018. There were 152 land-based casinos in September, as opposed to 151 in March.
Casinos And Gambling In The North
Most of the land-based casinos in the UK are owned by two large operators – Rank Group and Genting UK. When it comes to casinos per region, the North leads with 43 casinos, ahead of London and other regions. It actually has six more than the Midlands and Wales combined. There are 30 casinos in the south of England and 26 in London.
As for active land-based casino players, the North is behind London, with five million casino visits in the period from April 2017 to March 2018. During this time, there were 5.74 million casino visits in London.
It is difficult to predict whether the North will remain dominant in terms of its land-based casino volume, but what is clear is that the iGaming industry’s growth is showing no signs of slowing. Despite the forthcoming tax hike (an increase from 15% to 21% in April 2019), online gambling is just too lucrative for site owners and to fun for players alike.