The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) isn’t just there to impose annoying regulations on the gambling industry, but it also has an important role in looking at who is gambling and how they’re choosing to do so. This information can actually prove incredibly useful for the industry, as it can use the data to better target its offerings to specific demographics. In its recently released survey on gambling participation, the UKGC revealed two interesting trends: online gambling is being taken over by women and seniors.
The biggest changes we saw in the data collected by UKGC between quarter one and two of this year were in the gender makeup of gamblers. The starkest shift was a six point drop in the number of male gamblers overall, and a four point drop in male online gamblers, with only 17% of men taking part in online gambling in the last 4 weeks.
This in contrast to female gamblers, where we saw an unexpected rise in participation: from 45% to 48% participating in any form of gambling, and from 11% to 13% participating in online gambling. We’ve documented the rise in female gambling before, but what makes this even more interesting is that spring and summer – as the weather gets nicer – is when you’d expect to see an overall drop in online gambling anyway, so any kind of rise is a surprise.
With only a 4 point difference between the genders in terms of online gaming, it’ll be interesting to see how operators respond to the shift in the landscape, and find out whether there’ll be more games and promotions aimed out women in the future.
Other than gender, one of the big things that the UKGC looks at in its surveys are the ages of people participating in different forms of gambling. This is where things get really interesting. Between the first and second quarter of 2015, the percentage of people in most age groups participating in online or mobile gambling pretty much stayed the same – as is usually the case – with only very negligible changes to be seen.
There was one striking exception though: the elderly. Data showed that there had been a one point rise in the number of senior players gambling online. This doesn’t sound like much, but given that that takes the total from 4% to 5%, that’s an increase of 25% on the previous quarter’s numbers.
While this is admittedly a very small increase and seniors still represent a relatively small demographic, it’s a trend that we will probably be something operators and game makers take more seriously in coming months and years. This is because older people are becoming more tech savvy, gaming tech is easier to use than ever before and younger people will be aging into that demographic as well. It will be interesting to see how the face of gaming changes to accommodate the new players.