A couple of years ago, the United Kingdom completely revamped how they handled online gambling. While some people complained at the time about the changes, there’s no denying that it created one of the most respected regulatory jurisdictions in the world in the process. The United Kingdom Gambling Commission is considered on the same level as Malta in terms of online gambling licensing, and that’s the highest tier of regulatory bodies in the world. Along these lines, it’s not particularly surprising that legally betting online in the United Kingdom has reached its highest market share ever.
Breaking Down the Numbers
By the numbers, between April 2015 and March 2016, a total of about 33 percent of all betting in the United Kingdom happened online. This is the highest it’s ever been, and there’s no signs of it slowing down. The total yield was about $5.6 billion (GBP 4.5 billion), and that’s compared to GBP 3.4 billion collected by the UK National Lottery over the same 12-month period of time.
The numbers also spell out a loss of games in the land-based sector that are a reflection of these changes that are happening in the industry overall. The number of betting shops in the UK has fallen by about 1.8 percent, and the total number of gaming machines has fallen a measurable amount as well. Though it’s less than 1 percent, the fact of the matter is that it is steadily on the decline while total gambling revenues are up, and this means that online games are taking their place at a faster pace than they are being displaced.
How People Are Gambling
Also of note are how people are gambling online. A total of GBP 2.6 billion came from casino play, which beat out sports betting at GBP 1.6 billion and slots at GBP 1.8 billion. This is somewhat surprising since the total number of plays on slots in particular tends to be higher than casino gaming, but casino games tend to have much larger bet sizes on average with many slots targeted towards the penny player demographic since it’s easier to structure games along those betting limits.
Big Bingo Losses
In the land-based bingo arena, we have a particular piece of information that has hit pretty hard in all of this, and it reflects a big increase in the amount of online bingo that has been played. A total of 4.3 percent of the number of places to play bingo in the land-based sector actually shut down in the year before September 2016. This is a very alarming rate because it shows that players are migrating very quickly and somewhat suddenly from land-based bingo, which has seemingly always had a pretty steady fan base.
Online and Mobile Gambling
It’s very interesting to us that online gambling is gaining so much ground, and we think that a big part of that could be due to the expansion of the mobile gambling side of things. Mobile online gambling has been the fastest growing segmen of the online gambling industry for several years, and it’s gotten to the point that experts believe it’s going to overtake non-mobile online gambling soon enough. We see smartphones and tablets everywhere we go, so it’s not that surprising in the grand scheme of things, but it’s still interesting to see how this industry is changing even on a yearly basis.
As for the UK Gambling Commission, they caught a lot of criticism in the past for revamping how online gambling was regulated in the country, and many thought they were outright killing the business. We can now see that this was not the case and that the industry is actually thriving now that greater standards were put into place. There’s no denying that there were some growing pains involved in the process, but this was a pretty inevitable thing as the industry was starting to get a bit out of control with limited oversight at the time. Now we see what good oversight and reasonable tax rates can do for an industry.
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