Gambling Statistics for 2020: Our Findings

UK Gambling Statistics

for 2020

Gambling Statistics

Table of Contents

In today’s post, we take a look into the Gambling statistics for the United Kingdom in 2020.

United Kingdom Gambling 2020: What’s happening so far?

Gambling is a huge industry, according to the latest statistics, 98,174 people are employed in the gambling industry, and whilst that is a decrease from the previous collection of statistics, it’s still a significant number.

There’s no denying that gambling does have many flaws, as well as many benefits. Whilst it contributes more than other industries to tax, it can also fuel addiction.

But to be able to understand what the issues with gambling are, to what extent they affect certain demographics, and how to create laws and policies to make gambling safer, we first need to take a look at the gambling statistics for the year 2020.

How It’s Measured

The way that gambling is measured is through a number called the GGY, this stands for gross gambling yield. The calculation for this formula is often made to seem overly complicated, but in reality it’s best summarised as A+B-C

A is the amount of money that gambling company’s make a result of people loosing bets or games.
B is the amount of money that gambling company’s make outside of gambling, this might include subscriptions to newsletters, or even drinks at casinos.
C is the amount of money paid out to the winners of gambling.

The latest statistics place GGY at £14.3 Billion for the UK.

The “Latest” Isn’t Too Recent

Please note here, that the latest solid and 100% factual statistics come from the year 2019, and they account for all gambling actions which have occurred between October 2018 and September 2019.

The reason for this is that the statistics for gambling are only collected twice a year, and that’s under usual circumstances. However, you may have noticed that these aren’t exactly normal circumstances that we’re currently living under.

Currently, there are no absolute statistics in regards to gambling after September 2019, there are however survey results which can give us a good idea.

Gambling vs Betting

Throughout this article, the words gambling and betting will be used interchangeably.

However by doing so, I will be going against the official and established definitions of the word for the purpose of easier reading.

Gambling is to take an action that involves a risk. For example, if you step outside your house and you don’t bring an umbrella despite rumours it might rain, you are taking a gamble.

Betting on the other hand is much more of a formal agreement between two parties. The customer has agreed with the gambling/betting company to either loose of receive money based on an outcome.

Essentially, all betting is a form of gambling. But not all gambling is a form of betting.

The Latest Numbers (From 2020)

Written below are the latest gambling statistics. However, there are things to keep in mind.

These are not absolute statistics as they are not based on objective data, but rather upon surveys.

Surveys can have a variety of flaws, including limited sample sizes, dishonest participants, and a limited time period.

When I sat limited time period, what I mean is that dates the surveys were taken.

This data below is from results between the 5th and 19th of March, and therefore will exclude any part of 2020 after that particular date.

Who Is Most Likely To Gamble?


Gender is a key factor to be looking at. By understanding which gender is more likely to engage in gambling, we are able to open up several debates around the topic, to enable gambling to become safer.

According to the latest data, men are slightly more likely than women to engage, both in online, and regular forms of gambling.

When accounting for all forms of gambling 50.4% of men have said that they’ve engaged in some form of gambling in the fast 4 weeks. This is compared to just 43.1% of women.

Even just focusing on online gambling, men are just still more likely than women to participate in gambling. 24.5% of men, and just 17.9% of women.


Another key factor which can help us better understand who is most likely to gamble is age demographic.

The latest data suggests, that the age group who is most likely to gamble are those between the ages of 45-54 years old, with 50.6% saying they have participated in the past 4 weeks.

However, when accounting purely for online gambling, the most common age group is 35-44 years of age.

Online Gambling

In the past, the only way to place a bet would be to go to either the local bookies, pub (with a slot machine), or casino.

However, today, online gambling is an option that many gamblers tend to go for. However, non-online gambling is still more common.

The data shows that whilst 21.1% of people have used online gambling, a short calculation can tell has that 25.6% of people have only gambled in physical buildings.

How People Gamble

We should also be looking at the way that people gamble, this can help us to understand how the law should target certain areas.


The most common form of gambling is National Lottery Draws, with 29.3% of people saying they had taken part in the past 4 weeks.

However, the data does not show information such as how many tickets were brought by each person.


And the second most popular form of gambling is sports. With 12.9% of people saying they have participated in the past 4 weeks.

The most common way to bet on a sport is horse racing at 3.8%. This is probably because betting is just part of the day out.

Scratch Cards

The third most common form of gambling is scratch cards. The data shows that 10% of people have brought one or more scratch cards in the past 4 weeks.

But again, the data does not indicate how many scratch cards each person has brought. Someone who has brought 1 will be worth the same as someone who has brought 10 a day.

Fruit/Slot Machines

The fourth most common form of gambling is surprisingly low at only 3.8% and that is Fruit or slot machines.

The lowness of this number could be due to the fact that most people are aware about the slim chances of winning on those things. Or even simply a lack of desire or even knowledge.

Problem Gamblers

Overall, only 0.6% of participants are classified as “problem gamblers”. Whilst this is a small number, if we assume that this sample size is proportionate to the rest of the UK, that’s still over 800 million problem gamblers across the country.

Which is of course, something to be taken very seriously.

The lowest risk gamblers only account for 2.7% of participants. Therefore, there is a lot of grey area inbetween.

This grey area is comprised of people who might not have a bad addiction, but still suffer some negative consequences.

Whilst the majority of people who gamble will just do so for fun, there is a portion of people who are known as “problem gamblers” these people can be defined as gambling with negative consequences and a possible loss of control.

Men (0.8%) are twice as likely than women to be a problem gambler. And the most common age group to develop problem gambling is 25-34 year olds.

There is likely a link between this fact, and mental health issues.

However whether problem gambling is a cause or consequence of mental health issues is something which is up for debate.

How did Covid-19 affect gambling?

Recently, there has been a lock down across the United Kingdom! Almost all brick and mortar places that offer gambling have been forced to close, and will be reopening again from July 4th.

There are several reasons why looking at how Covid has affected gambling could help us.

Since most peoples wages will have decreased, understanding the relation between wage changes and gambling can help us to create policy to protect the most economically vulnerable.

Also, we can compare the gambling trends to the mental health statistics to get a better understanding if problem gambling is more of a cause or a consequence of mental health issues.

Small increases for a small number of people
A rather interesting fact is that people who are already gambling are now more likely to try new products.

According to YouGov data, 1/3 of people who have gambled in the past four weeks have done a particular gambling activity for the first time.

People who have taken part in 3 or more gambling activities have increased the amount of time or money they have been spending.

This would suggest that whilst the lock down has made problems worse, it has not actually created many new problems.

Gambling Decreases 

Surprisingly, despite what some people might think, the number of people who are participating in gambling hasn’t actually gone up. Infact quite the opposite!

Corona has been bad for gambling!

Overall, the number of people who are gambling has dropped down by 3%. This is because of the decrease in “real world betting” (betting on things that happen outside of that bet).

Since there haven’t been any sports being played, there hasn’t been any opportunity for people to place bets on them. As a result of this, real world betting is down by 11%.

Searches gone up

Even though the total gambling rates have gone down, searches for online casinos has actually reached an all-time high.

However, this could only suggest that more people are thinking about using an online casino, and does not necessarily mean they are interested in participating.

Another factor to keep in find is that whilst the data does indicate the number of searches for online casinos, it does not show the number of people making these searches.

Therefore, it could very well just be reflection of what was spoken about earlier, it’s not that more people are gambling, but there are some people who are gambling more.

After Lock Down

It’s going to be interesting to see what happens on the fourth of July. This will be the date that the pubs, casinos, and bookies will be able to open up again.

And it will also indicate that many sporting events will soon be starting up again.

Perhaps gambling levels are going to decrease even further because of the economic effects of the lock-down, people will have less disposable income.

But on the other hand, it could actually rise again, as people will be more keen to go outside (which they haven’t been able to do in months).

Possibly, we could see a spike just after the reopening date, and then a decline afterwards.

Credit Card Ban

Conclusive and objective data for gambling statistics haven’t actually been collected yet (as we’ve already discussed) but when they do come out, it will be interesting to see the effect of the ban on gambling on credit cards, a new law introduced in April to help combat problem gambling.

Banning gambling on credit cards, the government had aimed to help prevent people from allowing gambling to get themselves into debt.

If you want to gamble your money, you will now need to lay your money down.

UK Law

Whilst the laws around gambling aren’t quite as strict as they are in a lot of other European countries, we still have several laws that are in place to make gambling as fun and safe as it can be.

If a gambling operator allows a young person (under 18 years old) to play, they could be faced with a £1000 fine.

And cheating at gambling, or even helping someone else to cheat, can make you end up with a £5000 fine, or 51 weeks in prison.

Similar punishments happen for employing people under the age of 18 to give gambling facilitates or providing these facilities without a licence.


And there we have it, the most accurate and up to date gambling statistics for the year 2020!

As I’ve already spoken about, these statistics aren’t 100% foolproof, as some of the data is based on surveys and no data has been collected for the month of June.

However, we can use this data to get a pretty good idea of where most of the country stands in their relation to gambling.

We also have a good understanding of how Corona Virus (or the lock down) has effected gambling.

Leave a comment