Gambling statistics: How do Brits gamble

43% of Brits have gambled in some way in this year. 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

  • In March 2022, at least 43% of Brits gambled at least once.
  • Over a quarter of Brits (27%) have taken part in the National Lottery in 2022.
  • As of March 2022 £1,911.8 million was raised for National Lottery projects.
  • On average, Brits spend £2.60 per week on gambling, totalling over £135.20 per year.
  • The total gross gambling yield stood at £14.1 billion in 2020, which is 1.4% less than the total in 2019
  • Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.27 billion per year.
  • The National Lottery contributed £1.6 billion to good causes in 2018/2019.
  • £838 million is held in online betting accounts in the UK (April- September 2020)

How many people are gambling?

In March 2022, 43% of Brits gambled at least once. However, more males than females are gambling, with around 45% gambling in the last 4 weeks compared to 42% of females. Gambling participation reached its highest level in 2016, where 48% of all Brits said they gambled at least once.

All Respondents Males Females
Year to March 2015 44.80% 49.10% 40.70%
Year to March 2016 48.40% 52.60% 44.30%
Year to March 2017 44.80% 48.40% 41.40%
Year to March 2018 44.70% 48.10% 41.50%
Year to March 2019 46.30% 51.40% 41.40%
Year to March 2020 46.70% 50.40% 43.10%
Year to March 2021 40% 41.60% 38.60%
Year to March 2022 43.30% 45% 41.80%

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 (27%) taking part in it in 2022. The next most popular types of gambling are scratchcards (10%) and sports betting with 5% of Brits taking part in this in 2022.

Gambling activity Year to March 2022
National Lottery draws 27.20%
Scratchcards 7.10%
Fruit or slot machines 2.50%
Virtual gaming machines in a bookmakers 0.10%
Bingo 2.10%
Football pools 1%
Horse races 3.50%
Dog racesb 0.40%
Sports betting 5.20%
Betting on other eventsbg 0.60%
Virtual dog or horse races 0.50%
Spread betting 0.30%
Online slot machine style games / instant wins 3.40%
Casino gamesc 0.80%
Poker at a pub / club 0.20%
Private betting 3.80%

How much are we spending on gambling?

On average, Brits are spending £2.40 per week on gambling. Those in the night income percentile spend the most on gambling at £2.90 per week, while those in the second lowest percentile spend the least at £1.90.

Income group Weekly spend
Lowest 10% £2.10
Second decile group £1.90
Third decile group £2.70
Fourth decile group £2.60
Fifth decile group £2.00
Sixth decile group £2.30
Seventh decile group £2.50
Eighth decile group £2.40
Ninth decile group £2.90
Highest 10% £2.50

Gambling industry

The total gross gambling yield stood at £14.1 billion in 2020, which is 1.4% less than the total in 2019 and 2.1% less than in 2018. The betting industry can be seen to be the centre of UK gambling. The betting industry has approximately 46 thousand employees (2019). This is a decrease of roughly nine thousand across the past nine years. Sectors such as bingo, casinos and arcades have around ten thousand employees. Online betting follows this trend with around ten thousand employees. However the lottery only has around a thousand employees.

Online casinos made £1937 million in total gross gambling yield from April 2020 to September 2020, 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.

Year Gambling Gross Yield
March 2018 14.4
March 2019 14.3
March 2020 14.1

Sports betting

Almost half (45%) of men engage in online sports betting, compared to 23% of women. For example, 7% of men play online poker, compared to only 1% of women. In recent years fantasy sports has increased in popularity and following the trend, this form of online betting is more popular amongst men (4%), compared to less than 1% of women.

Gambling debt and addiction

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

  • The overall problem gambling rates have decreased in 2021, (0.3% compared to 0.6% in 2020).
  • 15% of online gamblers have been gambling in the workplace in the past four weeks.
  • In 2021, individuals aged 35 to 44 made up the largest percentage of problem gamblers.
  • 9% of men felt they were likely to get addicted to gambling, compared to 6% of women.
  • 3.1% of gamblers have bet more than they can afford to lose.
  • 7% of gamblers said they did so as a way to “earn money to get by day-to-day”.
  • Gambling addiction is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.3 billion per year.
  • Sources

    • 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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