The events of 2020/21 weren’t very kind to the land-based gambling sector. Many bingo halls closed down and casinos struggled. It was a boom time for online gambling, but it came at the expense of its offline counterpart.
But it seems that times are changing, as there has been a revival of sorts over the last year. In fact, land-based gambling is booming right now and defying a lot of expectations in the process.
Good Times for Land-Based Gambling
In their Industry Statistics report, published in November 2023, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission noted that there was a massive 20.6% increase in gross gambling revenue for the land-based sector, including casinos, bingo halls, arcades, and betting shops.
It’s a big jump from 2021 and it suggests that the industry is getting back to pre-pandemic levels.
What’s even more surprising is that the number of land-based gambling locations actually dropped during the same period. There was a 3.9% drop in the total number of betting shops and a 2.2% drop in the number of total gambling premises. If you compare those numbers to 2019/2020, the number of gambling premises fell by nearly a fifth.
What’s Behind the Turnaround?
It’s clear that land-based gambling is on the up, even though the shutters have fallen on many betting shops and casinos over the last couple of years. So, what’s driving the growth?
Well, the lack of lockdowns is obviously helping when compared to 2021. Not only do gamers and bettors have more freedom than they did back then, but they are also less worried. There are few remaining restrictions concerning where people can go and what they can do, and after being locked away for many months, countless gamblers have been keen to make up for lost time.
The economy could also play a role. Times are tough, much more so than they were in 2019, and research suggests that people gamble more during times of recession – A complex topic and one that we’re not going to try tackling here.
What About Online Gambling?
The same report recorded a 2.8% increase in remote gambling between 2021 and 2022, as well as a 6.8% increase in gross gambling revenue and a 9.3% increase when excluding lotteries. In other words, online gambling is also booming right now and contributes significantly to total gambling revenue, with an increasing number of players turning to their computers and devices to gamble.
It’s all about convenience.
All of this means that despite increasing regulations and concerns, the gambling industry is thriving and that growth looks set to continue.