Gambling Compliance – Positive outlook for UK’s online gaming industry

David Morgan – CEO – Gambling Compliance

Growth in Britain’s online gambling industry is expected to remain robust, with turnover set to break £3bn in the next two years despite the Government’s point of consumption tax (PoC).

A new report by GamblingCompliance Research Services (GCRS) estimates that the net gaming revenue (NGR) of Europe’s largest online market rose by 12.2 percent to £2.31bn last year. From December 1st, operators will be subject to a 15 percent tax hike on all bets placed online in the UK, in a move which is expected to raise around £400m for the Treasury in its first full year.

Yet GCRS estimates that online gambling revenues will climb 11.4 percent to £2.58bn in 2014, before rising by a further 10 percent to £2.83bn in 2015 and 13.6 percent to £3.22bn in 2016.

Daniel Stone, head of data content at Gambling Compliance, said: “Britain’s online gambling market has enjoyed an uninterrupted run of double-digit annual growth since the turn of the century – and this looks likely to continue into the first two years of the PoC regime.

“But the market share analysis contained in the report shows just how crowded the online space is in the UK. With companies forced to reassess their business models in light of the imminent tax hit, the fight for new customers and share of wallet has never been more intense.”

The report, released this week, reveals that William Hill retained its status as Britain’s leading online operator in 2013, capturing 14.5 percent of the total market. The company’s number one status is under increasing threat from bet365 however, after the Stoke-based firm boosted its overall share by 2.4 percent to 13.7 percent last year.

Global online market leader bet365 is estimated to have extended its lead at the top of the UK sports betting market too, capturing a quarter of player spend in a vertical which hit £1bn in NGR terms in 2013.

William Hill is second in the sports betting rankings having overtaken Betfair. Yet the most recent data suggests that the betting exchange pioneer is now fighting back, having enjoyed a stellar World Cup on the back of growth in its mass market-orientated sportsbook.

In other sectors, the continued decline in the popularity of online poker and slower gains in bingo-led gaming mean that UK gaming growth is set to be sustained by the online casino segment. UK-derived online casino NGR is forecast to rise at 13-15 percent year-on-year from £621m in 2013 to £927m in 2016.

JackpotJoy operator Gamesys, with an estimated 13 percent share, was top of the UK online gaming segment in 2013, after pushing William Hill (11.9 percent) back into second place.

Yet Gala Coral also earns a share of the plaudits after its share of UK gaming grew to roughly 8 percent in the first half of 2014 from an estimated 5 percent in 2012.


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