NAO: Robust Growth Informed by Vital Perspectives on Protection in the UK

Published April 4, 2020 by Lee R

NAO: Robust Growth Informed by Vital Perspectives on Protection in the UK

Convenience cannot be confused with temptation, and more protections need to define the line moving forward in the UK.

New data shows a prosperous decade for licensed gambling in the UK, with iGaming being the x-factor of course.

Decade Figures

UK National Audit Office NAO data indicates a major spike for licensed gambling in the ten years leading up to 2018-19, a shiny £4.1 billion 57% jump.

Culminating in Eleven Figures

With the added ease of transacting over the internet using browsers or mobile apps distinguishing the period, the NAO figures published in the Financial Times reported total gross gambling yield (excluding the National Lottery) for 2018-19 topping out at £11.3 billion.

Drivers of Growth

Increases in online bingo play; increasing amounts of slot machines and poker tables are counted among recent drivers of growth.

The Mobile Advantage

The key development in the near term is the proportion of online gamblers using mobiles to place bets. up to 44% in 2018 to almost double 2015's 23%.

Driving Advertising Spend

The increase in online and smartphone gambling is also driving growth in gambling operator advertising spends, to the tune of for a 56% increase from 2014 to 2017.

Risk Factors

The report further warns that gambling does pose the risk of adverse effects on issues such as mental health problems, relationship difficulties and substantial financial losses.

Banning Credit Cards

Key developments for the new UK climate include the Gambling Commission's ban on credit card use by UK residents, taking effect April 14, in a measure designed to prevent people from spending more than they can afford at online websites.

NAO Head Comments

NAO Head Gareth Davies acknowledged that “the risks to gamblers are changing as technologies develop,” characterising the Gambling Commission as but “a small regulator” in a massive, rapidly evolving industry:

“While the Commission has made improvements, gambling regulation lags behind the industry. The Commission and government need to work together to ensure that regulation keeps pace with the risk to gamblers.”


It is encouraging to see the NAO's critical approach to gaming emerging from the new regulation environment of the UK so that players will be increasingly protected.

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