UK gambling report offers last snapshot of pre-point-of-consumption tax market

uk-online-gambling-marketUK-licensed online gambling operators accounted for 19% of the UK market’s overall gambling revenue prior to last December’s introduction of the 15% online point of consumption tax (POCT).

Figures released on Thursday by the UK Gambling Commission covering the 12 months ending September 2014 include only those operators holding a UKGC-issued license, the number of which has dramatically increased since the UK introduced its new online regime on November 1. The UKGC estimates that UK-licensed operators represented only around 15% of the total online market during the period covered in the report.

Excluding the National Lottery, the UK’s total gambling market was worth £7.1b during the reporting period, up 5% from the previous report covering the 12 months ending March 2014. Land-based betting claimed 46% of this pie, followed by online betting (19%), casinos (16%), bingo (9%), arcades (5%) and large society lotteries (5%). All sectors were up save for bingo and arcades. Fixed-odds betting terminals in betting shops reported GGY up 3% to £1.62b.

The report says gross gambling yield (GGY) by UK-licensed online operators rose 27% to £1.35b. That’s more than twice the sum reported in the 12 months ending May 2011. The 19% market share is up three points from the UKGC’s prior report, the single largest gain of any UK gambling sector.

Sports betting was the dominant online gaming vertical, with GGY up 35% to £1.19b while turnover rose 23% to £31.5b. Football was the dominant online sports betting option, accounting for 56% of GGY and 45% of turnover. Combined, the football, tennis and ‘other’ categories accounted for 90% of online betting GGY and 89% of turnover.

Online casino GGY was a mere £24m, as most major casino operators had yet to receive a UKGC license during the reporting period. Online casino turnover and GGY fell by 1% and 12% respectively between the most recent reporting periods. Online bingo reported GGY up 79% to £7.7m as turnover rose 73%.

Active online player accounts rose 14.5% to 5.59m during the period. The number of people employed by the remote betting sector rose 8% to 6,285, while all other sectors reported declines in their payrolls.