British-regulated market grows 8% as participation falls

Revenue from online operators licensed and regulated by the British Gambling Commission grew by 8%  in the last financial year, according to new figures.

Regulated remote gambling – consisting of betting, bingo, poker and casino – generated £717.2m in gross gambling yield (GGY) in the year to the end of March, a figure that represented 12% of the £5.8bn generated by the entire British gambling industry. This made remote gambling the third largest sector behind the non-remote betting sector (52%) and bricks ‘n’ mortar casino gambling (15%).

This £717.2m figure represented 8% growth on the £661m total of a year earlier, “primarily attributable to growth by existing operators rather than new entrants to the market”, albeit a small part of the total British remote gambling market due to most of the UK major operators moving their online operations offshore in recent years.

bet365 is now the only operator with a signficant part of its online businesses – its sportsbook – regulated and taxed in the UK, with Gambling Commission chairman Philip Graf estimating earlier this month that his organisation now regulated “less than 20% of online gambling by British consumers”.

The Commission also noted today that: “We expect the GGY from Commission licensed operators to decline in the future as the effect of Betfair moving offshore is seen in regulatory returns data.”

Exhange betting’s share of overall revenues from Commission regulated sites correspondingly fell to 8% from more than 23% a year earlier, with betting subsequently increasing to 88% from 74%. Casino games accounted for just 2.7% of revenues on British regulated sites.

The UK government published its long-awaited bill to amend the 2005 Gambling Act to regulate all remote gambling in Great Britain on a point-of-consumption basis earlier this month. HM Treasury has yet to publish the level of the accompanying tax on operators based on location of gambler, not company, also slated for introduction in December 2014.

The proportion of UK adults participating in online sports betting, poker, casino and bingo in the year to the end of March however fell, with just 5.4% of 4,000 adults surveyed had participated in at least one form of remote gambling in the last four weeks, compared 5.9% the previous year.

Overall participation in remote gambling however rose to 12.2% from 11.2% during the same period when National Lottery products were included, the most popular form of online gambling in the UK.

Article written by Stephen Carter

Casino Choice journalist

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