Online gambling

The UK online gambling industry in numbers

Last year the BBC published a report showing that searches related to online gambling in the UK had reached an all-time high. The trend started at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. And it has persisted until now.

In this article, we will look at the growth of the iGaming industry in numbers. How many casino sites are there? How much tax does the sector generate? Why do they gamble online instead of in betting shops?

£6.9 billion in annual revenue

The online gambling industry in the UK generated nearly £7 billion between April 2020 and March 2021. This represents growth of 18.4% compared to the previous financial year, whose revenues had been hit hard affected by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The growth of the industry towards the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 was surprisingly not expected. Many experts had predicted that online gambling would suffer for at least two years.

Instead, the industry has garnered nationwide interest, with search engines reporting unusually high traffic to online betting and casino sites.

Although there are many reasons why iGaming has grown rapidly during the pandemic, the main reason is that it is an online industry. At the height of COVID-19, online businesses were performing exceptionally well. The online casino industry was no different.

Joining a gaming site like Casino Ultra Online is accessible from home via a mobile device. Any adult in the UK can link their credit card or use a digital wallet like PayPal to make a deposit. Then they can play a wide range of slots, poker and blackjack games.

More than 2,400 online gambling sites in 2021

Have you ever wondered how many online casinos and sportsbooks dominate the UK market? According to the UK’s official gambling regulator, Britain is home to at least 2,400 iGaming operators.

Although the specific number changes from time to time, 2,439 gambling sites had licenses to operate in the UK market in the financial year ending March 2021. The number was a 5.4% drop from the previous year. ‘last year.

For clarity, a significant number of iGaming businesses shut down during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially sports betting sites. But after the government eased restrictions and sports resumed, more companies applied for licenses.

Just over 10,000 workers

Many people are surprised after learning that the online gambling industry employs just over 10,000 people. For such a huge industry with revenues amounting to nearly £7billion, you would think it would involve many more workers.

In truth, remote gambling does not require as many employees as betting shops. Think about it. The average online casino doesn’t need booth bosses, waiters, guards, room service employees and chefs.

Of course, this requires web developers, marketers, managers, and customer service agents. However, these employees could oversee several online casinos at the same time.

That being said, Britain employs over 100,000 people in the gaming industry in general. This does not include people working in Gibraltar, Alderney, the Isle of Man and even Malta, where thousands of UK citizens run casinos targeting the home market.

Market share—52.3%

The online gambling industry is in fierce competition with land-based gambling companies. So far it is in the lead, controlling 52.3% of the total gambling market in Britain.

Surprisingly, remote play overtook land play only a few years ago. In 2018, online casinos and sportsbooks controlled 39% of the market while betting shops comfortably led.

Fast forward to 2020 and more than half of UK gamers prefer to play online. According to recent reports, online casinos generate more money than online sports betting.

In 2021, online casinos generated £1.9 billion in gross returns. Most of that money came from slot machines. By comparison, online sports betting brought in £1 billion, most of which came from football betting. Bingo ranked third with an annual revenue of almost £100million.

Annual fee – £2.83 billion

Unlike many countries around the world, Britain does not tax players. Instead, it generates revenue by taxing gambling operators. Last year HM Revenue received £2.83billion from online gambling merchants, a slight reduction on the previous financial year.

As you might have guessed, the drop in tax revenue has everything to do with COVID-19. The pandemic has affected the sports betting industry immensely, resulting in near-zero revenue for some betting companies.

Online casinos have never had to shut down because of the virus. As such, most of them have put in impressive performances throughout 2020 and 2021. That said, sports betting has finally recovered. And because of this, HM Revenue’s tax revenue for the financial year ending March this year is expected to be well over £2.83billion.

Why the UK Online Gambling Industry is Growing Fast

The online gambling industry in the UK is expected to grow rapidly over the next five years. As mentioned, it has already overtaken betting shops. But what are the reasons for this growth?

There is no doubt that more and more people in the UK are interested in online gambling. With Google searches skyrocketing and new casinos popping up every month, Britons want to gamble online.

The main reason why the demand for remote gambling is increasing is largely related to convenience. Of course, you can drive a few miles from home to follow a football bet. But it is more convenient to place the same bet from the comfort of your own home.

Mobile betting companies in the UK allow punters to deposit and withdraw money through a wide range of options. You can use Visa, MasterCard or Maestro for debit card payments.

Or you can use e-wallets like PayPal, EcoPayz and Skrill. There are also options to use Bitcoin, eChecks, wire transfer, and gift cards. All you need is to find a site with your favorite payment companies.


The online gambling industry in the UK may have collapsed after the onset of COVID-19. But it still outperformed most industries in the country. The sector generated £6.9bn in 2021, of which £2.83bn went to HM Revenue and Customs. These numbers will likely increase in 2022 and 2023 as the economy recovers.