Online Poker Left Out of UKGC Gambling Trends Study

May 21st, 2015 | by Kaycee James
UKGC online gambling report no poker

Oddly, online poker wasn’t mentioned in the UKGC’s latest seven-year trend online gambling report. (Image:

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) breakdown of gambling trends across the country has just been released and online poker didn’t even score a mention.

Despite making up around 19 percent of the UK’s £2.83 billion ($4.4 billion) gambling economy, the report fails to acknowledge Internet poker statistics.

Although land poker is mentioned, the study’s authors appear to have overlooked the online version of the game and, instead, focus on activities such as bingo, casino games, and sports betting.

The online gaming world does get a mention and, according to the report, people with university degrees are more likely to be gambling online.

Trends Revealed, But Not for Poker

While poker is seemingly excluded from the analysis, the 2008 to 2014 study does state that graduates often choose to gamble online because of their “higher level of numeric, verbal and other skills.” It’s long been known that the most successful poker players come from academic backgrounds.

Online pros such as Vanessa Selbst, Mike McDonald, and Chris Moorman all have university degrees. In fact, McDonald’s place of study, the University of Waterloo, has turned out more pros than almost any other institution and can count Xuan Liu, Mike Watson, Steve Paul-Ambrose, and Will Ma among its alumni.

As well as discovering that graduates are more likely to do their gambling online, the report noted that mobile gambling in the UK has increased by 50 percent since 2008. Although this may not be the most startling revelation, it does fall in line with recent marketing efforts by all major online operators.

The report also notes that this increase in remote gambling (mobile and online) has contributed to a decline in live gambling revenue. Despite being a long way behind in terms of total income, online gambling is certainly making inroads into its live counterpart and it’s likely this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Not a Gamble?

While the omission of online poker from the report may seem somewhat surprising, it could be seen as a positive for the industry. By not aligning online poker with games of chance such as bingo, blackjack, roulette, and slots, there’s an implicit indication that online poker is actually a game of skill.

The report is compiled by researchers sending out questionnaires and making phone calls to UK homeowners.

Second guessing why online poker doesn’t appear in the report may be something of a fruitless exercise, but it’s certainly strange that an industry that generates millions in revenue each year wasn’t included.


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