Gambling statistics 2020: Learn more about how Brits gamble

47% of Brits have gambled in some way in the last 4 weeks. We unpacked the latest stats to see what we are gambling on and how much we spend.

Gambling comes in many different forms, from betting on horse racing to entering the National Lottery. We looked at 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 damage your chances of borrowing money or even securing a mortgage. Gambling carefully and responsibly is essential.

Quick overview

  • 47% of Brits have gambled in some way in the last 4 weeks.
  • 30% of Brits have taken part in the National Lottery in 2019, making it the most popular type of gambling.
  • On average, Brits spend £2.60 per week on gambling, totalling over £135.20 per year.
  • The gambling industry was worth £14.3 billion in Great Britain in 2019, down from £14.5 billion 6 months before.
  • The industry collectively had 98,174 employees in 2019, down from 106,000 6 months before.
  • Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.2 billion per year.
  • The National Lottery contributed £1.6 billion to good causes in 2018/2019.

How many people are gambling?

47% of Brits have gambled in the last 4 weeks, which is up slightly from the year before when 46% of Brits had gambled in the space of 4 weeks. More males than females are gambling, with around half of men (51%) gambling in the last 4 weeks compared to just 4 in 10 females (41%). 20% of all Brits say they gamble at least twice per week.

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 almost a third of Brits (30%) taking part in it in 2019. The next most popular types of gambling are other lotteries (13%) and scratchcards (10%). Sports betting also remains a popular method of gambling in the UK, with almost 7% of Brits taking part in this in 2019.

Type of gambling Percentage of UK adults, year to December 2019
National Lottery draws 29.62%
Another lottery 12.73%
Scratchcards 9.94%
Sports betting 6.71%
Private betting 5.63%
Fruit or slot machines 4.20%
Horse racing 4.02%
Online slot machine style games/instant wins 3.15%
Bingo 2.92%
Football pools 1.72%
Casino games 1.50%
Betting on other events 1.37%
Virtual gaming machines in a bookmakers 0.84%
Other 0.83%
Dog races 0.70%
Poker at a pub/club 0.51%
Virtual dog or horse races 0.40%
Spread betting 0.28%

How much are we spending on gambling?

On average, Brits are spending £2.60 per week on gambling. Those in the highest income percentile spend the most on gambling at £4.20 per week, while those in the lowest percentile spend the least at £1.50 per week.

Income group Weekly spend
Lowest 10% £1.50
Second decile group £2.00
Third decile group £1.90
Fourth decile group £2.70
Fifth decile group £2.70
Sixth decile group £2.30
Seventh decile group £3.20
Eighth decile group £2.70
Ninth decile group £2.40
Highest 10% £4.20

Gambling industry

The gambling industry in total is worth £14.3 billion and employs 98,174 people across the UK as of September 2019. This is down from £14.5 billion and 106,000 employees in March the same year, a change driven by more gambling taking place online than on-premises.

Online casinos made £3,190 million in total gross gambling yield from October 2018 to September 2019, making it the most popular game of choice. Non-remote betting made £2,812 million in total gross gambling yield during the same time, while remote betting made £2,121 million.

As of 2019…

  • £14.3 billion: Total gross gambling yield of the gambling industry.
  • 98,174: Total number of employees in the gambling industry.
  • 7,315: Total number of betting shops.
  • 1,633: Total number of arcades.
  • 642: Total number of bingo premises.
  • 155: Total number of casinos.

The number of premises to gamble on has steadily decreased over the past 8 years as online gambling has increased in popularity. The only exception is casinos, which had 149 premises in 2011, versus 155 in 2019 (+4%). The most closures were made by arcades; they have decreased by 32% (763 premises) from 2,396 to 1,633 during the past 8 years.

Premises 2011 2019 Increase/decrease
Arcades 2,396 1,633 -31.84%
Betting shops 9,067 7,315 -19.32%
Bingo premises 695 642 -7.63%
Casinos 149 155 4.03%

Gambling debt and addiction

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

  • 0.5% of the UK’s adult population are problem gamblers.
  • 15% of online gamblers have been gambling in the workplace in the past four weeks.
  • 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

Related articles

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site