The Gambling Commission in Great Britain releases bi-annual reports on the latest statistics from across the gambling industry. It covers betting shops, arcades, bingo, casinos, gaming machine manufacturers, lotteries and remote gambling.
This is the first in a series of mini reports on the latest statistics released, and will give an overview of the gambling industry as a whole. The emergence of two agreed major mergers between Gala Coral and Ladbrokes, and Paddy Power and Betfair respectively was the big news for the UK in the latter part of the year, as well as the battle over bwin.party which finally saw GVC victorious against 888, with consolidation the industry buzzword of 2015.
This was the year which felt the initial effects of the point of consumption licensing in the Gambling Act changes implemented November 2014. The significant alteration to how the regulator viewed online gambling means that previous around the remote sector was not exactly comparable with data from previous years.
Employment numbers across the industry fell once more to a low of 104,869 as of March 31st 2015. This is 3,182 less than on the same date in 2014, and 10,695 less than in 2011.
Despite this there was an increase in yield of 2%, in monetary terms £112m, across the non remote commercial gambling industry between April 2014 and March 2015.
The average number of gaming machines fell from a high in March 2014 of 170,324 to 166,809 in March 2015. This figure is still notably higher than in the years preceding 2013. The number of betting shops similarly declined, as did the number of adult gaming centers and bingo premises. Bingo operators in particular felt the crunch with 615 in operation in September 2015 compared to 673 premises up and running in March 2014.
The non-remote casino industry enjoyed growth this year, albeit minor, with one new casino in operation compared to last year and four more when compared with March 2013. Casino attendance also rose on average.
The introduction of regulation in late 2014 for the remote gambling industry ensured that, whereas previously this was not a requirement, overseas operators offering gambling services to customers in Great Britain now had to obtain licenses from the Gambling Commission. As such it was only from November 1st 2014 that remote figures from overseas operators were included in industry reports, meaning no substantial comparison can be made with previous years in this sector.
There were 719 remote gambling activity licences held by 427 operators as of September 30th 2015.