Will the UK Sit on the Throne of the World Gambling Market by 2021?

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The gambling market around the world has transformed over the past few years. This is especially true for the UK. Due to technological innovations, providers are able to offer more games with better features. 

The growth of the online marketplace has seen competitors all fighting to attract audiences and grow their customer base, with exciting new gaming products launching every day.

But what makes the UK one of the world leaders in the world’s gambling market? And will it hit the top by 2021? Read on to find out more. 


How the UK dominates
The topic of online gambling has taken up a lot of space in conversations recently. But the market that comes up over and over again is that of the UK. According to the leading statistics portal Statista, in 2018 the UK gambling generated a GGY (Gross Gambling Yield) of £14.4 billion. This was up from £8.4 billion in 2011, with growth attributed to remote gambling — otherwise known as online gambling. When it comes to online gambling, the UK has been incredibly inclusive and forward-thinking.

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Online gambling is overseen by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) — a government body created back in 2005 as part of the Gambling Act with the purpose of regulating all commercial gambling activity. This includes the National lottery, but also online poker, online bingo, online sports betting, and all online casinos. A few interesting points from the Gambling Commissions Annual Report and Accounts of 2018-2019 that might give a better idea of the situation:

  • the National Lottery contributed £1.6 billion to good causes in 2017
  • during a 4-week period in that same year, 15 million people purchased a lottery ticket in the UK
  • across the UK there are 8,423 betting shops, 181,813 gaming machines, 1,639 licensed arcades, and 650 bingo premises

The UK also has a wide number of online gambling platforms like 888 casinos where punters can enjoy a variety of exciting games including online slots and more. The growth of online gambling has grown in the UK every year. 

As one of the first countries to recognize the potential online gambling can yield for the government, as well as the size of the industry, the UK is certainly way ahead of 

other countries when it comes to the world gambling market.

Across the west

But the UK isn’t the only Western country that’s become much more relaxed about the gambling marketplace — and recognized its benefits. In the USA, for example, several states are introducing new laws to legalize online betting. Many of the states have had legal online horse betting for a while, but over recent years, many have begun to relax their laws and legalize additional forms of online betting including poker, fantasy sports, lotteries, and casino games. New Jersey, Nevada, and Delaware for example have legalized casino games since 2011. Pennsylvania was next in 2017, soon followed by West Virginia in 2019. In 2020, Michigan should be launching sports betting, poker, and casinos. Generally, there’s been a more acceptive view around gambling overall.

Online casino gaming has had widespread popularity in Canada, with estimates that gross revenue is $31 billion a year and services purchased $14 billion. This has been increased by the widespread adoption of gaming on smartphones and tablets as well as the availability of secure high-speed internet services. And while some Canadian provinces have decided on a banned approach to online gambling, others have moved forward and accepted online games.

The Canadian online gambling market offers a range of casino games including roulette, slots, poker, and more to their players — and seem to be following in the footsteps of the UK with their approach. 

But what about other parts of Europe? Outside the UK, Statista has discovered that the highest gross gambling revenue (GGR) of European countries is Italy. Across Europe, the overall online GGR is estimated to reach approximately 24.7 billion euros by 2020, mostly generated by the online lottery, online casinos and sports betting — with poker only accounting for six percent of the online gambling market.

What about local gambling, Czechia has the most casinos, followed by France and Great Britain. France is ahead in terms of casino GGR, at 2.3 billion euros — although Great Britain has more full-time employees across the casino industry.

Online player accounts in France doubled in recently, while those in Great Britain quadrupled. Other market growth from online gambling of note has occurred in Spain and the Netherlands. 

Europe overall has really benefitted from the online gambling market; it’s likely that it’s influenced other countries in North America to follow suit.

So is the UK still at the top?

Only time will tell if the UK will continue to dominate the global marketplace when it comes to online gambling. With countries like the United States and Canada beginning to follow the UK’s lead and legalizing online gambling (at least parts), it seems that things might be changing. But the strength of the UKGC and the UK’s ability to regulate their gambling laws will definitely keep them ahead for times to come. 

-In collaboration with TMM

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