First, the report tells us that the gross gambling yield of the industry as a whole in Great Britain for the period October 2015 to September 2016 was £13.8 billion, which compares favourably with the £12.6 billion figure for the previous 12-month period. The remote betting, bingo and casino sector had a gross gambling yield of £4.5 billion and a 32% share of the market, and that market share was up 3% on the previous year, indicating that online gambling continues to thrive.
There were 8,788 betting shops in operation in March 2017, which is down 1.4% on the figure for March 2016, and probably reflects the consolidations which have taken place following several big mergers over the last few years. The number of bingo premises in Great Britain in March 2017 was down 5.7% on the previous year, at 583, whilst the number of casinos in September 2016 remained fairly stable at 147, which was just one venue fewer than in March 2016.
The report stated that around 25 million adults had gambled in the four weeks prior to being polled, with almost 9 million doing so online and over 3 million betting on a football match. Alarmingly, some 77% of gamblers admitted that they had not read the terms and conditions before putting their money at risk, with women and those aged 65 or over being the least likely to do so.
As well as providing plenty of interesting statistics about gambling in Great Britain, the report also highlights how the Commission has helped to protect consumers in the past year. The Commission currently manages 2,800 licenced operators and 18,000 others on an individual basis, and has processed licence applications from over 280 potential operators and more than 2,300 individuals. There were 1,582 operator assessments conducted in the last year, and the Commission contact centre has handled an average of 6,500 enquiries each and every month, with 60% of those coming directly from consumers.
It is good to see continued buoyancy in the gambling industry, and particularly in the online gambling sector, and we think that the Commission are doing an excellent job of looking out for consumers. Of course, consumers should also be looking to protect themselves, and if there is one piece of advice that we would give on the basis of this report, it would be to check the terms and conditions before you play. Whilst the Commission is scrupulous when it comes to managing its licenced operators, it is up to you as the consumer to make sure that you only play at properly licenced venues, such as those highlighted on our Online Casino Reviews and Local Casino Reviews pages.