Online Betting Bigger than Ever in the UK

3 min read

UK online gambling largest sector in industry.
Online gambling now generates more annual revenue than live betting shops and lotteries in the UK. (Image:

Online betting is now the largest player in the UK’s gambling industry with recent figures revealing that it now generates more money than lotteries and live betting shops.

Ever since the online gambling industry jolted into life back in the early noughties, it’s always been seen as a secondary interest to live betting.

For many operators, the early days of iGaming were simply about having an online presence in order to support their live assets.

But, as the industry has evolved and matured, online betting sites are now forming the foundations of many companies’ assets.

That fact was backed up recently by the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) annual revenue report.

More People Now Ante-Up Online

According to the review, 33 percent of all gambling in the UK now takes place online. From the period between April 2015 and March 2016, the Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) from online operators was £4.5 billion ($5.5 billion).

That figure puts it more than £1 billion ($1.2 billion) ahead of the National Lottery ($4.2 billion) and high street betting shops ($4 billion). Delving further into the numbers, online casino betting has proven to be the biggest money spinner for operators, with $3.2 billion deriving from games such as blackjack, roulette and slots.

Naturally, online poker has also helped contribute to the surge in iGaming revenue. As outlined in the report, $122.4 million of the $3.2 billion generated by “remote” casinos came from poker.

Although that makes it the smallest contributor to the sector (slots contributed $2.1 billion), it highlights that poker without borders can be a lucrative endeavor.

Open Doors Generate More Income

When you compare that figure to a country such as France, where online poker is nationally restricted and only generated around $12.5 million in revenue in 2015, it shows the value of an open market.

Although operators intending to offer online betting services in the UK must obtain a license from the Gambling Commission, they don’t have to segregate their players from international playerpools. The benefit of this for British players is more competition and, therefore, more games and prizes.

Subsequently, the benefit for operators is more traffic, more action and, ultimately, more revenue.

Indeed, with online poker in the UK generating significantly more revenue than France (despite the UK having a smaller population), it would suggest that countries with a closed door policy like the US may want to rethink their strategy in light of the UKGC’s report.

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