DraftKings, ESPN, UK online sports betting results

Draft Kings is currently all over the WSOP, and soon it will be all over ESPN. (Image: DraftKings.com)

The UK’s internet sports betting markets are going through the roof, according to new figures from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC), and it’s being driven by online betting.

Over the past four years,the UK’s gross gaming yield (or handle, to non-accountants) has grown almost 55 percent; from £1.94 billion in 2010 to over £2.99 billion last year.

This means, says the UKGC, that the UK market now represents about 13 percent of total global gross gaming yield, which stood at £23.76 billion last year.

Overall betting revenues, meanwhile, increased by 23 per cent, to £6.2 billion for the fiscal year ending April 2014, up 143 per cent since 2010.

Online Betting up 84 Percent

The gross gambling yield for online betting, however, is up a whopping 84 per cent over the last four years, to £1.19 billion, way ahead of all other products.

This has been aided, of course, by the rise of mobile technology and in-play betting; the option to bet on almost any aspect of a single game, during the game.

Soccer, as is the case globally, is the most widely bet-upon sport in the UK by far, accounting for 49 percent of all wagers, and a yield of £14.22 billion.

The second-most lucrative vertical, according to the UKGC, was online casino, including poker, although revenues have dropped 27 percent since 2010. Naturally, slots and table games accounted for the vast majority of these revenues. 

And the short-term future looks healthy; new registrations are at their highest ever level, with 6.24 million in the last year, while active customer accounts are up 60 percent over the past four years.

These are defined as accounts that have been used to gamble for real over the preceding 12 months.

Fantasia for DraftKings

Meanwhile, back in the US, where most of us must content ourselves with betting on made-up sports fixtures, DraftKings has found its Disney princess.

Fresh from plastering its brand all over the WSOP, the fantasy sports league has sealed a deal with Disney-owned ESPN to become its official daily fantasy sports partner.

The agreement will offer DraftKings’ branding and promotional opportunities across multiple ESPN platforms, including digital content and television broadcasts.

ESPN’s own fantasy sports content has attracted more than 12 million users, while its fantasy football product is the most popular in the industry.

“ESPN and DraftKings share a history of innovating and advancing fantasy sports to serve this passionate fan base,” said ESPN president and co-chairman of Disney Media Networks John Skipper. “DraftKings is a dynamic company, deeply connected to its fans, and we’re excited to have them on board as our official daily fantasy sports offering.”