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40+ UK Gambling Statistics to Up the Ante in 2021

Written by, Toni Maglovski

Updated August, 31, 2022

When Liverpool ended its 68 undefeated home game streak by losing to Burnley of all teams, it wasn’t just a bad day for Kopites, but for gamblers across the UK as well. Who would’ve guessed!?

From visiting an online betting site to playing the National Lottery, gambling has become more and more prevalent in Great Britain over the last couple of years.

If placing bets is something you’d like to learn more about, the following gambling statistics in the UK can tell you how many punters there are, how big the gaming sector is, and so much more.

Let’s get started!

Gambling Statistics in the UK that Play the Percentages

  • There were 24 million adult gamblers in Britain in 2020.
  • Fewer than 3% of gamblers earn a living from gambling.
  • Nearly a third of gamblers said they’d tried new gambling activities during the lockdown.
  • Men have a higher gambling participation rate.
  • The gambling industry spent £1.5 billion on marketing in 2017.
  • Online casinos were the most profitable gambling sector in 2019.
  • A total of 2,838 new gambling permits were issued in 2019.
  •  In 2018, online gambling had revenue of £5.6 billion.
  • The National Lottery is the most common form of gambling in the UK.
  • There were approximately 1.4 million gambling addicts in 2020.

Gambling Statistics and Data in the UK

Number of adult gamblers in the UK.

1. Over 45% of people in the UK gamble every month. 

(European Business Review) (Statista)

There were 24 million adult gamblers in Britain in 2020, and close to half of them chose to bet online. Moreover, gambling statistics in the UK showed that 22% of gamblers placed a bet more than twice a week, and nearly a third did so at least once a week. Another 30% reported that they gambled less than once a week to once a month, while under a sixth less than once a month.

2. How much does the UK spend on gambling?

(Gambling Commission) (RSonline)

Gambling Commission statistics show that across all sectors, including the National Lottery, betting, bingo, arcades and casinos, Brits gambled away £14.3 billion in 2018/2019, an insignificant decrease of 0.5% in comparison with the previous annual report.

On average, Britons wager £2.6 per week, which means that in a year, they part with around £135.

3. What percentage of gamblers make money in the UK?

(Beating Betting) 

In a 2018 survey on gambling in the UK, 35.3% of respondents said they’d made a certain profit from gambling. There’s quite a discrepancy, however, between these claims and reports from bookmakers. Namely, they put the “winning” percentage at a low 2-3%. 

4. What percentage of gamblers lose money in Great Britain?


Based on a 2018 survey of almost 300 UK residents, nearly 70% believed that they’d lost less than £100 gambling. At the other end of the spectrum, 0.71% reported that they’d possibly frittered away tens of thousands of pounds so far. 

5. Fewer than 3% of gamblers earn a living from gambling.

(Bleacher Report)

Being a pro gambler may seem like an easy job, but the deck is stacked against them. The professional gambler salary in the UK varies greatly, depending on the month’s winnings. Namely, for a full-time punter to make the average British salary of £26,500 by betting on football matches, they’d need a bankroll of around £150,000. Even more depressing, the best one can hope for is a meagre profit of 3 to 4%.

Effects of the Coronavirus on Gambling in the UK

Online slots in the UK.

6. In March 2020, the number of active players increased.

(Gambling Commission)

According to the latest gambling statistics in the UK, the number of active players placing one or more bets online skyrocketed by 88%. However, although the number of players rose, there was still a drop in the number of bets per customer. 

7. During the first lockdown in March, 58% of gamblers watched more TV.

(Gambling Commission)

Well, this is to be expected, since everybody was stuck at home. However, when we compare all others to gamblers, we see that only 42% of all adults spent more time in front of the telly. In addition, 51% of bettors consumed more online entertainment, whereas 53% viewed more news on the internet. 

8. Nearly a third of gamblers said they’d tried new gambling activities during the lockdown.

(Gambling Commission)

Due to the absence of elite sports because of the Covid-19 pandemic, 31% of respondents had tried out at least one gambling activity for the first time. Specifically, UK betting stats indicate that 13% of engaged gamblers had hedged their bets on remote bingo, 12% on virtual races or sports, and 11% on online slots.

Gambling Demographics in the UK

Gambling demographics in the UK.

9. What age group gambles the most in the UK?


As a whole, the population that engaged in gambling the most was 35-64-year-olds.

More specifically, gambling participation was highest among Britons between the ages of 45 and 54, with 48.4% of them placing some sort of bet in 2020. Younger adults and teens (16-24-year-olds) were the least likely to gamble—only 31.2% of them participated in a gambling activity last year. 

10. Men have a higher gambling participation rate.


A survey conducted in 2018 showed that the participation rate for gambling among British males was 37%, whilst among women, it stood at just 28%.

11. Two-thirds of adult Scots gambled in 2019.


In 2019, Scotland had the highest rate of adult gamblers in Great Britain at 66%. In turn, the betting rate in England was 56%, close to Wales’s 55%.

Gambling Industry Statistics

Gambling ads in the UK.

12. How much is the gambling industry worth in the UK?

(Gambling Commission)

According to gambling statistics in the UK, this industry has seen a decrease of 0.6% in 2020, putting its total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) at £14.2 billion. 

13. How many people have seen a gambling advertisement?

(Gambling Commission) 

51% of gamblers stated that they’d watched a gambling ad on TV in the last seven days. However, ads on the telly are not the only way to reach potential clients. Social media also plays a role. For instance, Facebook, the leading social media platform in the country, is also the most popular network for gamblers to follow companies in the industry. 

Seeing adverts is one thing, but how many act on them? Gambling Commission statistics report that 44% of online bettors spent money on a gambling activity after seeing an ad, as did 52% of those with a social media profile. 

14. The gambling industry spent £1.5 billion on marketing in 2017. 

(The Guardian) (UK Parliament)

Going up by an incredible 56% since 2014 and accounting for 8% of Britain’s total advertising market, betting companies are spending more and more on promoting their business. 

Where does this money go? 

Gambling statistics in the UK estimate that the industry spent £747 million on direct online ads, £301 million on advertising through affiliates, as well as £234 million on TV commercials. A smaller but significant share went to social media (£149 million) and sponsorships (£60 million).

15. Online casinos were the most profitable gambling sector in 2019.

(Gambling Commission)

The remote casino sector was the highest-grossing industry in 2019, generating a GGY of £3,190.09 billion. Remote bingo, on the other hand, had the lowest profit, or just £198.09 million. The betting industry was somewhere in the middle, with online betting raking in £2,121.00 million and non-remote betting making £2,811.67 million. 

16. The overall gambling industry workforce decreased in 2019.

(Gambling Commission)

Although a 4.4% decline was reported from the start of the year, there were nevertheless 98,174 people working in the gambling industry by the end of September. Broken down by sector, betting employed 48.7% of the total workforce, while casinos and bingo operations hired 14.1% and 11.7%, respectively.

17. The number of betting premises in the UK decreased in 2019.

(Gambling Commission)

According to gambling industry statistics, in September 2019, there were 9,745 betting premises, down 9.6% from seven months prior. Also, the total number of betting shops was 7,315, also a reduction of 12.1% compared to the spring of that year.

18. There were 191,826 gaming machines in 2020.


Stats on gambling and betting activities in the UK for the last decade show us that the number of gaming machines has been climbing fairly steadily. In the year to March 2020 alone, over 11,000 new ones were added to the national total, a 6% year-over-year increase.

19. A total of 2,838 new gambling permits were issued in 2019.

(Gambling Commission)

Judging by 2019 Gambling Commission statistics, there were 51,541 active gambling permits that year, while 5,098 inspections of gambling premises were carried out.

Online Gambling Facts and Stats

Online betting activities in the UK.

20. In 2020, people between 35 and 44 years of age gambled the most online.


29.3% of UK citizens aged 35-44 gambled remotely every month, more than any other age group. This generation also saw the largest annual increase in the number of gamblers, going up by 4.2% between 2019 and 2020. 

Over 65-year-olds were on the other end of the spectrum—just 14.2% of them engaged in remote gambling. Incidentally, internet penetration is lowest among this age group

21. About three-quarters of UK citizens signed up for one to three gambling sites in 2018.


A survey back in 2018 revealed that over 74% of the respondents had a betting account on one to three of the many UK gambling sites, while only 15.1% said they didn’t have one. With this in mind, it’s no wonder the online betting account tally reached 31.57 million in September 2019.

22. Smartphones are the most popular way of accessing online gambling sites.

(Gambling Commission)

With 50%, mobile phones were the most-used method of accessing online gambling sites in 2019, while the second most popular devices were laptops with 38%, down 6% from the year before.

Smartphone use for gambling was unsurprisingly most popular among younger Brits (over three-quarters of 18-24-year-olds) and least common among those over 65 (just 14%).

23. In 2018, online gambling had revenue of £5.6 billion.

(Business First Online) 

According to online gambling industry statistics, this sector accounted for 38.8% of gross gambling revenue in 2018. The UK online gambling market size makes it the biggest regulated one on the Continent, accounting for 15% of the total European market in 2019.

24. There were over 27 million hits to illegal gambling sites from British IP addresses in 2020.

(Betting Gaming Council)

Illegal gambling statistics in the UK tell us that via 27 million visits, approximately 200,000 Brits had used black-market betting sites throughout 2020, placing £1.4 billion worth of bets.

Betting Statistics in the UK

Football betting spend in the UK.

25. Football was the most popular sport for betting in the UK in 2019.

(Gambling Commission)

Since Britain’s Premier League is one of the most exciting in the world, this doesn’t come as a shock at all. That said, in 2019, almost 47% of all money spent on remote betting was on football.

Some of the other sports Britons like to place wagers on include horse racing with 27.3% and tennis with 5.9%. 

26. 5.8% of UK gamblers bet on sports at least once a month.


A recent betting industry survey reveals that nearly 7% of gamblers had placed some form of bet on sports in the four weeks prior to the study being conducted, a slight decrease of 1.2% compared to 2019.

27. Horse race betting had a turnover of under just £4 billion in 2020.


Horse race gambling statistics indicate that turnover from off-course betting has decreased by more than £1.7 billion over the past decade. Revenue from playing the ponies on course is also on the decline, going down by 19% from April 2019 to March 2020.  

However, off-course dog race betting seems to be faring a bit better, with turnover increasing by 5% to around $988 million (just over £720 million) during the same period. 

UK Casino Statistics

Win rate for American roulette in the UK.

28. How much do casinos make?

(Gambling Commission)

The total GGY of the non-remote casino sector was £1 billion, a decrease of 4% compared to 2019. This decline was primarily due to a reduced yield from casino games, which decreased by 4.6%, or £38.8 million.

29. The drop value from casino blackjack was around £766 million.

(Statista) (Statista)

Blackjack and American roulette are some of the most popular and best casino games to play. In 2019, the casino win rate from blackjack was about £160 million. In comparison, the drop value from American roulette was £2.52 billion, whereas the win rate was around £328 million.

30. 29.6% of casino players think they’re profitable.

(Beating Betting)

50.9% of frequent casino patrons believe that they’ve turned a profit, the latest gambling statistics in the UK inform.  When it comes to gender casino demographics, men tend to believe they are the more profitable players—31.4% of male casino players think they’re making money, whereas 24.4% of women maintain the same.

National Lottery Facts and Stats 

Scratch cards and lotteries in the UK.

31. The National Lottery is the most common form of gambling in the UK. 

(The London Post)

As many as 30% of British people played the National Lottery in 2019, making it by far the most common type of gambling in the country. The Lotto is so popular that even the Queen has done it!

Other types of lotteries and scratch cards, played by 13% and 10% of people living in the UK, were the second most common.

32. Around 3% of children aged 11-16 admit to playing National Lottery scratchcards.

(Gambling Commission) 

A survey by the Gambling Commission on young people and gambling also revealed that 2% of children aged 11-16 reported had played the main National Lottery draw or the Lotto. 

33. How much does the National Lottery make in the UK?

(Gambling Commission) 

National Lottery ticket sales reached £7.5 billion in the period from October 2018 to September 2019. This led to a GGY of £3.2 billion, up 3.4% over the previous reporting period. 

As profits rose, so did contributions to charity. Namely, donations by the National Lottery to good causes increased by 6.5%, reaching £1.6 billion by September 2019.

Problem Gambling Statistics in the UK

Gambling addicts in the UK.

34. How many problem gamblers are there in the UK?

(The Guardian)

There were approximately 1.4 million gambling addicts in 2020, a YouGov study on problem gambling in the UK estimates. This comes up to 2.7% of the country’s total adult population. What’s even more worrisome is that almost half of them are not getting any help for it.

35. 3.6 million people have been negatively affected by someone else’s gambling problem.

(The Guardian)

Gambling addiction is a serious issue, adversely affecting 5 million British adults. Out of those, gambling addiction statistics in the UK report, 3.6 million have been negatively impacted by another person’s gambling problem. 

36. In 2019, there were 321 hospital admissions due to excessive gambling.

(England NHS)

Concerningly, gambling-related hospital cases have more than doubled over the last six years. Specifically, in 2014 there were 150, while in 2019, there were 321 gambling health-related hospital admissions. As a result of the rise in cases, the NHS will be opening 14 new problem gambling clinics by 2024.

37. 9% of children aged 11-16 spent their own money on gambling.

(Gambling Commission)

Although underage gambling is illegal in the UK, 37% of 11-16-year-old children in England and Scotland nevertheless placed bets in 2020. Even more disturbing is the fact that over half of them (51%) said that they’d done so while in the presence of a parent or guardian.

Perceptions and Attitudes to Gambling in the UK

Criminal activities and gambling in the UK.

38. Almost 30% of Britons think that gambling is fair.

(Gambling Commission)

A survey by the Gambling Commission on gambling attitudes and behaviour revealed that while 29% of respondents stated that gambling could be trusted, another 43% believed it was linked to some sort of criminal activity.

39. The majority of Brits think that there are too many opportunities for gambling. 

(Gambling Commission)

As many as 82% of respondents in a survey curated by the Gambling Commission think people have too many opportunities to gamble nowadays. What’s more, 73% see gambling as a threat to family life. On the other hand, 60% of those surveyed believe people should be free to place bets and gamble whenever they see fit. 

Self-Exclusion Statistics

40. In 2018, there were over 42,000 new self-exclusions in the betting sector.


The number of new self-exclusions for betting has been continuously rising over the years. For instance, in 2010, there were only 20,980 new self-exclusions via the GAMSTOP scheme, whereas by 2018, that number had more than doubled.

41. In 2018, the online gambling industry logged nearly 1.4 million self-exclusions.


As the online gambling industry grows, so do self-exclusion, data shows. Namely, in 2018 self-exclusions from remote gambling hit a record-breaking 1.38 million.

Gambling Trends in the UK

Permission for buying lottery tickets and scratch cards in the UK.

42. The UK is raising the age limit for the sale of National Lottery tickets. 


As of October 2021, only Brits over 18 will be able to buy National Lottery tickets and scratchcards. Previously, the age limit was set at 16 for both online and physical purchases of Lotto tickets. Will this affect gambling statistics in the UK in 2021 and the turnover of the National Lottery? Time will tell.

43. Betting on esports and VR gambling are some of the hottest trends in 2021. 


Emerging trends in the gambling industry are adapting to continuing restrictions caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Thus, it’s no surprise that activities that don’t involve one leaving the house are on the rise. These include mobile gambling, betting on online gaming, as well as the use of virtual reality software.

Although casinos are no strangers to cryptocurrency, this convenient and more private method of payment is expected to be further adopted by the gambling industry in 2021.

Cashing in Our Chips

As we’ve seen from these gambling statistics in the UK, this industry is no child’s play—it’s big business, and the house (almost) always wins. So the next time you’re tempted to play a quick online slot on a slow day, keep this info in mind. And don’t forget to stop short of betting the farm unless you want to find yourself deep in debt


I always had an appetite for learning new things and random facts about almost everything, which is why when I got offered the job to work as a content writer at Don't Disappoint Me I took it without hesitation. Writing on a daily basis took my love for words and research to a whole new level, and made me realize that this is a career I would love to pursue. Although I spend most of my time researching my next piece, you can also find me on the football court, in the gym, or at home with a book in my hand.