Will GB Online Gross Gambling Yield Fall as Regulation Becomes Stricter?

Gambling continues to be incredibly popular in Great Britain particularly online. Results for Q4 of the 2023/24 financial year have recently been released. They show an online gross gambling yield (GGY) of £1.36bn. Maintaining that level may prove difficult as regulation becomes stricter.

Both the number of bets placed and spins on casino games recorded record amounts. As we’ll explain though, the number of spins may struggle to keep up that momentum from September of this year.

Since March 2019, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has been releasing quarterly figures. These proved very interesting indeed during the COVID-19 pandemic as gamblers headed online due to the lockdowns that took place.

These latest figures cover the first three months of the year up to March 31. A 5% increase in GGY has taken place if comparing the latest results with those achieved in January-March in 2023. The figure of £1.36bn is also higher than that recorded in Q3 of the current financial year.

It’s interesting that the UKGC have stated that increased gambling on online slot games has been a major contributor to the higher figures. Another reason is an increase in real-event betting GGY.

Q4 saw slots GGY increase to £614m and that’s an 11% increase from last year. March was the most successful month with the total yield being £220.4m.

Players just kept on spinning and hoping for wins in Q4 with 21.9bn occurring. That’s 12% more than in Q4 in the previous financial year. The average time a player spent on slot games was 17 minutes, a minute lower than last year. However, the number who played slots for over an hour was 9.5m, 2% higher than last year.

The results for April to the end of August may well continue to show higher GGY figures for online slot games. A big change is on the way in September though that is likely to hit the online gambling industry hard.

Presently, there is not a maximum stake limit for online slots. Very large amounts can be staked on a single spin. As a result, this has led anti-gambling campaigners to speak out about the dangers of playing slots online.

Similar concerns were voiced about the gambling machines seen in UK High Street bookmakers. Players could gamble as much as £100 a game and huge losses were being incurred by some. After a lengthy campaign,the government reduced the maximum stake to just £2.

This led to some shops having to be closed and staff redundancies being made. Yet still there wasn’t a maximum stake limit for online games.

This will change in September and especially for younger players. Those aged 18-24 won’t be able to stake more than £2 on a single spin. For those aged 25 and above, the new maximum stake limit will be £5.

Will these figures be repeated later in the year? From September, the maximum stake for online slot games is going to be reduced. At present, there is no maximum limit and players can lose a great deal in a very short time if they go through a bad patch.

Players aged between 18 and 24 will have their maximum stake per spin reduced to just £2. Older gamblers will also be affected by the changes with the maximum stake due to be £5.  

With additional costs to be incurred changing all the slot machines. It’s expected that online slot GGY will fall as a result of the changes. More action is also likely to take place with autoplays banned and spin speeds being reduced.

In other areas of the gambling industry, there was a 2% rise in real-event betting yield with £565m earned thanks to special promotions and in particular bonus code incentives for new casino players. The number of active accounts in March was 2.8m with a total GGY of £233.8m from 388.3m bets.

Land-based betting operators didn’t fare as well as the online companies. Total GGY was £568m and that’s a 3% fall for licensed betting operators compared to last year.

Just how does the average gambler spend their money in land-based betting shops? £288.9m was spent on their gambling machines, a fall of 1.1%. In terms of placing bets on football or other sporting events, £152.5m was over-the-counter and £126.4m for the self-service betting terminals.

An interesting time lies ahead for the gambling industry. Stricter regulation is needed for the online sector but it might not be good news for betting sites. 

There remains the possibility that disgruntled gamblers may opt to leave the licensed and regulated sites and go to the black market. That’s bad news though as customer protection is nowhere near as high as there. A close eye will need to be kept on financial results from the start of next year.


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