UK's Poker Sector Just 5% of Online Gambling Market

UK's Poker Sector Just 5% of Online Gambling MarketThe UK’s online gambling market may be booming, but the same cannot be said for its online poker segment which continues to lag behind other gambling products in terms of both growth and revenue, according to a latest report published by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC).
In fact, online poker produced just $136 million in revenue between April 2016 and March 2017, representing a mere 5% of the $3.5 billion in gross gambling yield (GGY) collected over the same period. Meanwhile, online slots generated $2.2 billion, and sports betting a further $2.5 billion, while the industry as a whole grew by 10.1%, suggesting that poker has been waning in popularity as players turn to more entertaining forms of gambling for their enjoyment.
While the statistics may be concerning from a poker perspective, they are not all together unexpected as the game has seen a dramatic downwards trend since the poker book came to an end in 2006, and the DOJ pulled the plug on the US industry in 2011. Poker companies have since had to release innovative new forms of the game in order to appeal to a wider audience, such as PokerStars Spin & Go and Power Up tournaments.
These have proved hugely successful, too, and during the third quarter of 2017, PokerStars saw its online poker revenues increase by 12.5% to $221.4 million. While this may sound impressive, the company has also diversified into other gambling segments over the years, and during the same period saw its online casino and sports betting products soar by a massive 48%.
PokerStars’ third-quarter results together with the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) report clearly highlight the challenges operators have in keeping poker relevant at a time when punters are more keen on playing fast, fun games with large jackpots, rather than games which require a high degree of skill to play.
Interestingly, the UK’s struggling poker sector comes despite the country having one of the most progressive online poker markets in the world, with players from many other regulated countries able to play on UK sites. European countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Portugal, on the other hand, chose to segregate their individual poker markets, but due to contracting revenues are now in the process of launching a shared network across their different markets.


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