How Yorkshire People’s Gambling Behaviour Compares to the Rest of the UK

The United Kingdom Gambling Commission last published a study on the behaviour of players in 2016. The data was a full 12-month set, broken down by gender, age range, ethnic group, county and other demographics.

In this article, we will pay particular attention to how Yorkshire match up to the rest of the English counties.

Any Gambling Activity

61% of those surveyed in Yorkshire for the study said they had taken part in some sort of gambling activity over the previous 12 months, whether online or offline. This was second only to the North East (62%) and narrowly ahead of the East of England (60%).

At the opposite end of table were the people of London (51%), West Midlands (54%) and the North West (55%).

Interestingly, adults in Scotland were most likely to have taken part in some form of gambling, with 66% of people north of the border spending money on gambling activities in the past 12 months compared with 56% of adults in England and 55% of adults in Wales.

Popular individual games include:

National Lottery

Only players in the North East and East of England (45% each) had a greater participation in the main National Lottery and subsequent games over the 12 months of the study than the Yorkshire and Humber region (42%). 

London propped up the table with only 35% of inhabitants saying they had taken part in at least one draw over the previous year.

It was in October 2013 that the price of a lottery ticket doubled to £2. The rise was the first since the UK lottery started back in 1994. It resulted in prizes for matching three numbers rising from £10 to £25. 

Although there are more and more lottery sites popping up each year, 2019 data showed that nearly 75% of total sales came through in-store terminals. This is certainly one of the slowest forms of gambling to move online.


Scratchcards have always been considered a casual form of betting. They can be picked up for around £1 per ticket and usually located around the counters of a supermarket or convenience store.

It is not uncommon to pick up a couple on a visit to a shop in hopes of winning £100 or even £1,000s in prizes. Whilst scratchcards are mostly associated with offline gaming, they are available online too and more and more sites are popping up each year.

There was a split between four English regions with the highest scratchcard participation rates, with Yorkshire, the North East, East of England and South West all scoring 23%.

London (15%), the West Midlands (18%) and North West (20%) recorded the lowest scores.


6% of Yorkshire admitted to playing bingo offline in the 12 months leading up to the survey, which sits towards the higher echelons of the table, topped by the North East at 8% and propped up just 2% of Londoners playing the games.

There wasn’t too much difference in the online casino, slots and bingo activity, with each region sitting between 2-4%. Yorkshire sat in the middle at 3%.

In the four years since, online gambling has certainly increased, particularly with cheaper broadband fees and greater WiFi connections. Indeed, mobile apps have grown in popularity enormously since this survey was conducted. Today, players enjoy playing on their mobile, particularly when they can get free spins on wink slots and other vendors.

Online Betting

Once again, the North East (10%) came out on top here, whilst Yorkshire followed closely with 9% of the country saying they play at a bookmaker online.

Similar to casino and bingo sites, online betting has continued to grow year-on-year this millennium, with advancements in technology making betting websites more accessible, reliable and enjoyable.

However, back in 2016, 10% of Yorkshire’s population who participated in this study from the Gambling Commission, said they still place horse racing bets offline. One would have to guess this percentage has dropped in the four years since, whilst the number of online bettors has no doubt risen. Offline sports betting was already down to 7% at the time of publishing.

One would think that many Yorkshire bettors would have backed Leeds United’s promotion from the 2019-20 Championship campaign online.

Slot Machines

Yorkshire’s 7% in this category was the mode among English regions, with the South East and South West having the same figure. For once, the North East was actually quite low in this category, only at 6%.

Slot Machines are much more popular in the East of England than any other region, with 9% of those surveyed saying they had played on them over the previous 12 months. Perhaps Cromer Pier and the Port of Felixstowe are more popular than we realised up here?

Games such as Rainbow Riches, Starburst and Mega Moolah have proven very popular over the last couple of years, both online and offline. They can be found in brick and mortar casinos in Yorkshire, such as these popular ones in Leeds.

Other gambling activities in the survey included Betting Exchanges, Football Pools and Private Betting.

The Future of Gambling in the UK?

Betting has always been a mainstay in the United Kingdom. Between 1961-2005 for example, new bingo halls were being built every single year. The decline only started 15 years ago because of the growth in online betting. And that is where the future lies.

Today, virtually everyone carries around a smartphone, most of which can connect to the internet via WiFi from virtually anywhere. On these devices you can download several apps to play your favourite games on – whether that is to place football bets, sports bets, to play bingo of your preferred casino games.

Casino games are often considered more of a hobby than outright betting. This makes it socially acceptable to play poker, blackjack, roulette etc. So when you’re waiting for a bus, waiting for your meal at a restaurant or are on the train to or from work, it’s not uncommon to play one of these games on your short journey, whether for real money or just for fun.

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