UK Gambling Industry in the News — Weekly Round-up for June 1, 2018

By Brian Cullingworth, Last updated Jun 1, 2018

Latest UK Gambling Commission Statistics Released

Covers the period October 2016 to November 2017

The UK Gambling Commission has published its six-month update to gambling industry statistics, providing a snapshot of activity, market changes and trends across all gambling sectors for the period October 2016 to November 2017.

Headline findings include:

  • GBP 13.9 billion total gross gambling yield of the overall gambling industry in Britain (0.7 percent increase from Apr 2016 – Mar 2017);
  • Non-remote GGY declined GBP 93.7 million to GBP 3.3 billion;
  • GBP 4.9 billion total GGY for the online sector (3.7 percent increase from Apr 2016 – Mar 2017) contributing GBP 4.9 billion to gross gambling yield;
  • 35.2 percent market share for the remote gaming sector (1 percent increase from Apr 2016 – Mar 2017);
  • 106,366 total number of employees in the Great Britain gambling industry (0.8 percent decrease from Mar 2017) with more likely to follow after FOBT max stake cuts;
  • 8,532 total number of betting shops in Great Britain (3.2 percent decrease from Mar 2017);
  • 183,928 total number of gaming machines in Great Britain (0.7 percent decrease from Apr 2016 – Mar 2017);
  • 649 total number of bingo premises in Great Britain (Mar 2018) (2 percent increase from Mar 2017);
  • 152 total number of casino premises in Great Britain (Mar 2018) (2 more than Mar 2017);
  • 1,810 total number of licensed arcades in Great Britain (Mar 2018) (3.5 percent decrease from Mar 2017);
  • Virtual sports products generated GBP 169 million in GGY over the period;
  • Online and mobile casino games generated GBP 2.7 billion in GGY;
  • Football and horse racing betting were the main components in the GBP 2 billion in online sports betting GGY;
  • A total of 45 percent of adults reported having gambled within the four weeks running up to the survey. 18 percent of these said they had gambled online – up 1 percent;

Self-Exclusions On The Rise In UK Gambling

Numbers more than double in eighteen months

One of the interesting statistics reported in the latest UK Gambling Commission study covering the period October 2016 to November 2017 is the growing rate of punters who self-exclude from online gambling; the study notes that compared with the period April 2015 and March 2016, self-exclusions have more than doubled at 1,309,740.

Punters can self-exclude for at least six months and are account specific, not gambler specific, so one person can have multiple self-exclusions.

The amount being bet online has increased substantially over the last 18 months, with betting on remote devices such as phone and websites achieving turnover of GBP 19.7 billion – 25 percent up on the period April 2015 to March 2016.

Football generates the most betting turnover in the UK at GBP 7.97 billion over the period October 2016 to November 2017…that’s 40 percent of all sports betting turnover.

LeoVegas Ups Responsible Gambling Measures

Integrates all brands to LeoSafePlay and registers with GAMSTOP

Online gambling firm LeoVegas has registered with the UK’s centralised self-exclusion system GAMSTOP enabling its customers to restrict their gambling across all online gambling companies licensed in UK.

In addition, the operator has integrated all the Group’s brands with LeoSafePlay, giving it control of the total customer base in responsible gaming.

“In addition to LeoSafePlay, which is our overarching platform for responsible gaming, we are now taking yet another step to enhance player protection,” Gustaf Hagman, chief executive officer of LeoVegas, said. “Adding GAMSTOP shows our high ambitions in responsible gaming.”

LeoVegas’ LeoSafePlay responsible gambling scheme conducts continuous training on responsible gambling to its employees and has a dedicated team that works exclusively with these issues. Several tools are offered in support of responsible gambling including session limits, wagering limits, and pause account functions. Customers can also close their accounts and find problem gambling support online.

Online Gambling Operators Sanctioned By UK Advertising Standards Authority

Another warning that gambling advertisements targeting minors will lead to tears

Online gambling operators Progress Play, which owns, and TGP Europe, which runs have been told by the UK Advertising Standards Authority to drop advertisements which feature graphics and game themes likely to appeal to minors.

It’s the latest in a series of well publicised official warnings to online gambling companies that this sort of promotional activity will not be tolerated.

The ASA became involved following complaints lodged by the anti-gambling activist organisation Campaign of Fairer Gambling, fresh from its success in helping to secure a reduction in the maximum stakes available on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in high street bookie shops, and is perhaps an indication that pressure is now being applied to the online gambling sector.

The marketing publication Drum notes that recent data from Nielsen indicates that online casino houses have collectively invested GBP 1.4 billion on marketing since 2012; part of a 97 percent increase in UK ad spend over the past five years.

The bans also come amid MPs calls to treat ads for gambling companies in the same way creative from the tobacco industry is treated (see previous InfoPowa reports).

Games from – with titles like Fairytale Legends Red Riding Hood, Fairytale Legends Hansel and Gretel and Fairies Forest’ – depicted animated folklore characters and settings, and following contact by the ASA the company made the games unavailable for players who weren’t members, and modified the graphics to exclude any depictions of fairies and other characters like wolves and pixies.

Similarly, incurred a similar ban for promoting games that could appeal to children, including featuring a cartoon white polar bear titled Santa Paws.

The ads must not be shown again in their current form. The ASA also warned M88 to stop promoting the games on unrestricted portions of its website.

Sky Bet In Major Responsible Gambling Initiative

Online gambling group invests GBP 1 million to educate EFL clubs

In a major responsible gambling initiative agreed as part of its sponsorship deal with the English Football League, online gambling firm Sky Bet has invested GBP 1 million in an EFL education program targeting EFL clubs and designed to improve awareness.

The marketing publication Drum reports that the EFL has signed a five-year agreement with Epic Risk Management which will provide a day’s training on gambling-related harm together with follow up counselling and support that any players require to all the 72 EFL clubs.

The programme includes new responsible gambling shirt logos that will feature on every club’s shirt from the start of next season, and will also be used for the first time in this weekend’s Play-Off Finals.

The program will receive further support through an all-media advertising campaign and at the Wembley stadium.

Drum notes that a recent Professional Players Federation survey concluded that professional sportspeople are at least three times more likely to be problem gamblers.

Richard Flint, CEO of Sky Betting and Gaming, said that Sky Bet aims to put safer gambling at the heart of its EFL sponsorship.

“By funding such a vital service for every club we want to play our part in reducing gambling related harm amongst their players and wider staff. I firmly believe that responsible operators can add value to sport through partnerships like this,” he said.

EFL chief executive, Shaun Harvey, said: “Betting in football should only serve to enhance the matchday experience and I hope that by providing our campaign with visibility at every single game that supporters will be encouraged to stay in control and gamble safely. The work that will take place with EFL clubs, players and staff alike is a hugely significant step forward and will hopefully have a positive impact on all participants in the professional game for many years to come.”

Brian Cullingworth

Infopowa news was a staple of Casinomeister’s news from 2000 until 2019. Brian Cullingworth was the main writer, contributor, and was one of the most knowledgeable persons I have ever known involved in the online casino industry.

We first met in January 2001 at the ICE in London where I observed him going booth to booth interviewing online casino, software, and licensing jurisdiction representatives. Brian was also heavily involved with our forum as “Jetset“, he was involved as an informal consultant to eCOGRA, the OPA, and was a player advocate who assisted countless aggrieved players with his connections to industry folks. He also published “Casino Cautions” via Infopowa news for quite a number of years. These can be found in our news archives.

His passing in February 2019 was a dark day for us. He will be forever missed.

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