The online gambling sector in the UK is big business: it generates enormous revenues for the country and has actually continued to build over the last five years, despite the economic woes of many other sectors during this time. In fact, it has been reported by onlinepoker.net that 2012 saw more than £2 billion generated in revenues by online gambling firms – reported as an 80 percent increase on the £1.27 billion it generated just five years ago.
Gambling giant William Hill is sitting pretty, boasting a 15 percent share of the UK’s online gambling market as the largest Internet betting company in Great Britain, followed by Ladbrokes, Bet365, Betfair and Paddy Power, all of which happily sit on 11 percent each. And when you’re talking about numbers as high as £2 billion, the percentages work out to a nice source of revenue overall for UK online gambling business.
Sports betting currently brings in the highest proportion of the £2 billion generated annually by online gambling, producing 44 percent of the huge figure. This has more than doubled since 2008, and 2012 has seen the sports betting section of the industry bring in over £1 billion, proving that the popular pastime is still going strong in the UK.
Online casinos are next on the list as they account for 23 percent of the industry’s revenues, and have increased in popularity by more than 79 percent over the last five years.
While online bingo accounts for just 17 percent of the online gambling market in the UK, it is able to claim the top spot in terms of business growth as online bingo has risen an enormous 155 percent over the last five years, and continues to grow in popularity as more and more Brits go for this well-known and simple game.
However, the UK government’s strict requirements on online gambling operators mean that the £2 billion could likely have developed into even larger revenues than it has done over the last five years. Impositions such as a 15 percent tax rate for UK-based operators have forced many operators to base their businesses abroad in countries such as Malta and Gibraltar, which offer much better tax structures to online gambling operators.
It has been reported that the UK government does plan to loosen these restrictions in order to lure such companies back to the British Isles as it recognizes the benefits of a sector which grows even through an economic slump. Perhaps this is a sign that activities outside the house are becoming too much of an expensive hardship. Or perhaps Brits are just looking for a nice and easy way out of the daily grind through a big money win.