Gambling statistics UK: How do Brits gamble?

44% 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 look at the latest gambling statistics to see how Brits are spending their money and if we’re gambling responsibly. 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. Gambling carefully and responsibly is essential.

UK gambling statistics: Highlights

  • In the year to March 2022, the gross gambling yield for the UK industry as a whole was £14.1 billion.
  • In the year to March 2023, 44% of Brits gambled at least once.
  • The average person spends £141 a year, or £2.70 a week, on betting and gaming.
  • There are an estimated 168,149 ‘problem gamblers’ in the UK, up by 50% from 2022.
  • Those aged between 20-24 are the most likely to become ‘problem gamblers’.
  • Men are over 7 times more likely to become problem gamblers compared to women.
  • Over a quarter of Brits (27.6%) have taken part in the National Lottery in 2023.
  • UK adults spent a total of £3.3 billion on betting and gaming between April 2022 and March 2023.
  • Monthly online gambling participation is up by 78.4% in March 2023 compared to April 2020.
  • Online real event betting is 35% more popular than online slots.

How many people gamble in the UK?

In the year to March 2023, 44% of Brits aged 16 and over had gambled at least once, and a quarter (26%) of people had taken part in gambling online.

The total number is up from 43% who gambled in the year to March 2022 and from 40% in the year to March 2021. However, it’s lower than the percentage of people gambling pre-pandemic, which was 47% of adults in the year to March 2020.

There hasn’t been much change in the amount of in-person gambling participation since 2022, as it has stayed stable at 27%, but this figure is still below the pre-pandemic figure of 35%.

The number of problem gamblers in the UK rose by 50% to hit an estimated 168,149 (0.3% of those participating), up from an estimated 112,000 (0.2%) in 2022. This is still lower than the 0.6% overall problem gambling rate in 2020.

National lottery draws are by far the most popular type of gambling in the UK, with an estimated 27.6% of the UK adult population taking part in the year to March 2023. This is closely followed by other lottery types at 13.4% and scratchcards at 7.5%.

Spread betting was the least popular type of gambling, with just 0.3% taking part. This is followed closely by virtual dog or horse races and real-life dog races, both with just a 0.4% participation rate.

Type of gambling Percentage
National Lottery draws 28
Scratchcards 8
Another lottery 13
Fruit or slot machines 3
Virtual gaming machines 1
Bingo 2

How much money is spent on gambling in the UK?

It is estimated that UK adults spent a total of £3.3 billion on betting and gaming between April 2022 and March 2023. 30% of these total receipts came from Lottery Duty, meaning that £990 million came from Lottery Duty.

As approximately 44% of UK adults participate in gambling, this means the average person spends approximately £141 a year or £2.70 a week on betting and gaming.

Online gambling statistics

In March 2023, 14 million active players were gambling online across verticals, with the biggest operators (who cover approximately 80% of the online gambling market). Compared to April 2020, which had just under 10 million active players during the month, this is up by 78.4%.

The most popular form of online gambling in March 2023 was real event betting, with over 6.5 million people participating. The least popular form of online gambling for that same month was poker, as only 230,685 people played it.

However, real event betting has decreased in popularity, as it went from having nearly 8 million players in April 2022 to just a little over 6 million players in March 2023, a 14.2% decrease. On the other hand, online slots went from having 3 million players to over 4 million players in the same period, an increase of 15.5%

Month Real event betting Slots Other gaming (inc casino) Virtual betting Poker
April 2022 7,677,460 3,664,543 2,118,616 236,914 238,022
May 2022 5,640,833 3,606,017 2,092,688 236,080 238,190
June 2022 4,565,152 3,475,249 1,981,706 212,673 233,164
July 2022 4,573,576 3,384,076 2,102,152 211,955 230,793
Aug 2022 5,666,882 3,498,502 2,201,996 212,761 226,306
Sep 2022 4,900,242 3,422,720 2,131,482 207,544 231,040
Oct 2022 5,515,230 3,566,260 2,219,210 212,368 238,593
Nov 2022 5,967,896 3,706,157 2,327,774 212,610 236,290
Dec 2022 5,870,127 3,881,858 2,558,225 234,851 238,756
Jan 2023 5,373,648 3,804,781 2,422,560 232,153 247,693
Feb 2023 5,541,981 3,773,553 2,433,117 212,364 233,445
March 2023 6,585,060 4,232,991 2,707,415 230,849 230,685

UK gambling industry revenue

In the year to March 2022, the gross gambling yield or GGY for the UK industry as a whole was £14.1 billion. This refers to the amount retained by gambling operators after the payment of winnings.

In the year to March 2023, the gross GGY for online gambling with the biggest operators was £4.9 billion. During that period, the month with the highest GGY for online gambling was March 2023 (£495 million), and the month with the lowest GGY was February 2023 (£352 million). In 1 month, there was a 40% increase in GGY for online gambling.

Slots were the most lucrative area of online gambling this year, with a total of £2.25 billion in GGY. Sports betting gave the worst returns for gambling providers, with a GGY of £7.7 million.

Type of gambling GGY
Slots 200694928
Casino 54547864
Real event betting 227707143
Virtual betting 4423009
eSports betting 630872
Poker 6101439

Problem gambling statistics in the UK

Recent estimates suggest that there are 168,149 problem gamblers in the UK. A total of 148,004 men are problem gamblers, and 20,145 women struggle as well. This means men are over 7 times more likely to be problem gamblers than women.

Over 1.3 million men and 390,656 women are considered to be at some level of risk from gambling.

Interestingly, young people aged between 20-24 are the age group most likely to struggle with a gambling problem, with 42,702 estimated to be problem gamblers and 335,859 at risk in total.

Age group Men Women
16-19 122,774 24,673
20-24 271,534 64,325
25-29 246,836 56,710
30-34 166,829 43,404
35-39 124,265 40,671
40-44 86,528 24,861
45-49 96,082 28,912
50-54 83,864 41,214
55-59 69,373 30,142
60-64 44,970 15,760
65-69 27,176 12,221
70-74 28,334 7,763
Age group Low-risk Moderate-risk Problem gamblers
16-19 131,675 13,405 2,366
20-24 212,913 80,244 42,702
25-29 220,636 62,858 20,052
30-34 140,179 41,397 28,657
35-39 114,417 39,153 11,367
40-44 65,728 38,370 7,291
45-49 77,554 24,008 23,396
50-54 86,202 32,378 6,498
55-59 62,955 23,040 13,521
60-64 46,503 10,360 3,867
65-69 29,156 5,190 5,051
70-74 25,911 6,839 3,347

How much time is spent gambling?

In the year to March 2023, the average session length for online slots was 17 minutes. During this period, December 2022 had the most online slot sessions played for longer than an hour, with over 3.1 million.

Month Sessions > 1hr
April 2022 2,823,712
May 2022 2,868,293
June 2022 2,670,971
July 2022 2,831,643
Aug 2022 2,789,150
Sep 2022 2,742,699
Oct 2022 2,890,861
Nov 2022 2,962,126
Dec 2022 3,147,912
Jan 2023 2,941,056
Feb 2023 2,736,854
March 2023 3,118,913

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

    Matt Mckenna
    UK communications manager
    T: +44 20 8191 8806
    matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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