In 2007, the Gambling Act 2005 came into force. This Act relaxed gambling laws in the UK and changed the entire gambling landscape. Over the past decade, its effects have been felt within the UK gambling industry that’s now ballooning in size thanks to the growth of online games and online players. From the period running from March 2008 to March 2018, the figures released by statistics from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have been astonishing to say the least.
The British gambling industry revenue hit £14.4 billion in the period between April 2017 and March 2018. This represents a 4.2% increase from the period between April 2016 and March 2017. Unsurprisingly, the so-called remote betting is contributing an ever-greater slice of this whopping market revenue. Online gambling accounted for £5.3 billion of the latest figures, and is up 12.8% from the previous period. This is as a result of an increase in the number of registering online gambling players. In essence, the market share of online gambling is 37.3% for the period between April 2017 and March 2018, which is a 3% increase from the previous period.
In terms of UK sports gambling, football is leading the way with revenue of £1.04 billion, nearly half of the total online betting revenue. Horse-racing brought in £619 million, tennis contributed £144.6 million and other sports added £259 million.
According to statistics, the number of new registrations reached an approximated 36.59 million in the period between April 2017 and March 2018. Even though new accounts registration increased by 4.5 million, funds held in these accounts decreased from £875.5 million to £784.8 million. These enormous figures are slightly above the number of online gambling accounts, which is approximated at 33.58 million for the same period, an increase from £29.7 million in the previous period.
The increase in online gaming has surely dented the number of traditional walk-in betting shops in the UK. The total number of betting shops in UK was registered at 8,406 in September 2018, a 1.8% decrease from March. In fact, land-based betting revenue has decreased by £137.6 million to £3.35 billion during the April 2017- March 2018 period. Many betting shops have been forced to close shops and instead concentrate on the ever swelling online market. According to statistics from natural search voice on Google UK in the month of March 2016, paddypower.com is the most popular online gambling related website in the UK with a market share of 41%. Williamhill.com comes second with 29% and is closely followed by coral.co.zk at 27%. Other popular online gaming websites in the UK include; Ladbrokes.com (24%), unibet.co.uk (22%), skybet.com (21%) and betfair.com (20%).
Frequency of Betting in the UK
From the above statistics, it’s quite clear that many UK residents are betting more than ever. In a survey carried in the period between 2016 and 2018, 18% of the respondents admitted engaging in betting activities 2 or more days every week in 2018 while 31% admitted engaging in betting activities at least once a week.
In conclusion, it’s very clear that the UK gambling industry has been on an upward trajectory over the past decade; a trend that’s set to continue given that more online players are registering. The relaxation of gambling laws through the Gambling Act 2005 has contributed to this explosion. Online players enjoy the anonymity that online gambling presents, and it’s highly likely that many players will join the bandwagon with the hopes of hitting it big.