UK Online Gambling Soars 80% To £2bn Since 2008March 26, 2013 12:56 pm
While most of the UK’s traditional industries continue to struggle under the economic crisis, the country’s online gambling industry has been growing exponentially and in 2012 was worth more than £2 billion. That’s an impressive 80% increase in revenue from the £1.27 billion generated in 2008.
Claiming the biggest share of the pie is William Hill with a 15% share of the market followed by Ladbrokes, Paddy Powers, Betfair and Bet365 with 11% each.
By far the biggest sector in the UK online gambling industry is sports betting which represents 44% of the market total. It has also grown 102% since 2008 to now be worth £1 billion. Next highest is online casinos up 79% since 2008 to claim a 23% share of the market; followed by bingo up 155% and worth 17% of the market; and lastly poker up by just 8% to 15% of the online gambling market.
In spite of the impressive figures the UK government estimates it has lost a potential £2.1bn in tax revenues since it decided to set a 15% tax rate for UK-based operators. As a result there are now around 2.500 online companies operating from outside the UK from jurisdictions such as Malta and Gibraltar. However, the UK government has now said it is considering lowering the tax rate in order to lure offshore online gambling companies back to British shores.
As Minister for Sport & Tourism, Hugh Robertson, explains: “These proposals will ensure that British consumers enjoy consistent standards of protection, regardless of where a gambling business is based.”
Nevertheless, not everyone is happy about the impressive rate of growth in UK online gambling. Anti-gambling groups, for instance, have expressed alarmed at recent evidence that suggests the number of hardcore addicts in the UK has doubled over the past six years to 450,000 people, each with an average debt of £17,500.