Gambling statistics

Learn more about how Brits gamble.

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Gambling comes in many shapes and forms, from betting on the horse racing to entering the National Lottery. We looked into the statistics to see how Brits are spending their money on gambling and if we’re gambling responsibly or not. While gambling can be fun, there are some obvious (and less obvious) downsides. You could run up debt, or could damage your chances of borrowing money and even securing a mortgage in the future, so gambling carefully and responsibly is essential.

Quick overview

  • 46% of Brits have gambled in some way in the last 4 weeks.
  • On average Brits spend £2.57 per week on gambling, totalling over £133 per year.
  • 28% of Brits have taken part in the National Lottery in the last 4 weeks, making it the most popular type of gambling.
  • The gambling industry was worth £14.5 billion in Great Britain in 2018, employing more than 106,000 people.
  • Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.2 billion per year.

How many people are gambling?

46% of Brits have gambled in the last 4 weeks, which is up slightly on the year before where 45% of Brits had done so. More males than females are gambling, with 4 in 10 females gambling in the last 4 weeks (41%) compared to half of men (51%).

Year Gambling participation in the UK Males Females
2015 44.8% 49.1% 40.7%
2016 48.4% 52.6% 44.3%
2017 44.8% 48.4% 41.4%
2018 45.8% 50.8% 40.9%

What are we gambling on?

By far the most popular type of gambling in the UK is the National Lottery, with more than a quarter of Brits taking part in the last 4 weeks (28%). The next most popular types of gambling are scratchcards (11%) and other lotteries (11%). Meanwhile sports betting remains a popular method of gambling in the UK, with almost 7% of Brits taking part in this in the last four weeks.

Type of gambling Percentage of UK adults, year to Dec 2018
National Lottery draws 27.6%
Scratchcards 11.2%
Another lottery 10.8%
Sports betting 6.6%
Private betting 6.1%
Horse races 3.8%
Fruit or slot machines 3.7%
Bingob 2.6%
Casino games 1.6%
Virtual gaming machines in a bookmakers 1.5%
Football pools 1.4%
Online slot machine style games / instant wins 1.2%
Betting on other events 1%
Any other activity 0.9%
Dog races 0.8%
Poker at a pub / club 0.8%
Virtual dog or horse races 0.3%
Spread betting 0.3%

How much are we spending on gambling?

On average Brits are spending £2.57 per week on gambling. Those in the highest income percentile spend the most on gambling at £4.30 per week, while those in the lowest percentile spend the least at £1.10 per week.

Income group Weekly spend
Lowest ten per cent £1.10
Second decile group £2.30
Third decile group £2.40
Fourth decile group £2.40
Fifth decile group £3.00
Sixth decile group £2.40
Seventh decile group £2.50
Eighth decile group £2.40
Ninth decile group £2.90
Highest ten per cent £4.30

Gambling industry

The gambling industry in total is worth £14.5 billion and employs more than 106,000 people across the UK. There were over 8,000 betting shops, 650 bingo premises and more than 150 casinos in the UK as of September 2018.

  • £14.5 billion: Total gross gambling yield of the gambling industry in Great Britain.
  • 106,670: Total number of employees in the gambling industry in Great Britain.
  • 8,423: Total number of betting shops in Great Britain.
  • 650: Total number of bingo premises in Great Britain.
  • 152: Total number of casinos in Great Britain.

Gambling debt and addiction

While gambling can be a source of entertainment, it can amount to serious money problems, addiction and debt.

  • 0.7% of the UK’s adult population are problem gamblers.
  • 3.1% of gamblers have bet more than they can afford to lose.
  • Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK between £260 million and £1.2 billion per year.
  • 7% of gamblers said they did so as a way to “earn money to get by day-to-day”.


Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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