The end of the year is just around the corner now, so global gambling markets are to prepare for the challenges that are to be brought by 2018, and the UK gambling industry is not an exclusion. At the end of November, the UK Gambling Commission brought light on the performance of the sector, revealing the latest gambling industry statistics.
The latest statistics revealed by the UK gambling regulatory body, which also include information about the local online gambling services, cover the period between April 2016 and March 2017.
With the customers’ interest towards gambling as a favourite pastime constantly rising, future trends in the local industry could not be left unnoticed. The increasing popularity of the online gambling, along with some newer trends like digital currencies are complementing the long-lasting engagement of the regulatory authorities to provide players with a fair, safe and transparent environment.
UK Gambling Industry Trends for 2018
Here are some of the major trends that are expected to be seen in the UK gambling industry over the upcoming years, and even in the years after.
Undoubtedly, one of the most important aspects of the latest industry statistics that have been brought to light by the UK Gambling Commission, was the continuous growth of the UK online gambling sector. As mentioned above, online gambling had a market share of 34% of the country’s overall gambling industry. Reportedly, it marked a 1.5% increase from the period between April 2015 and March 2016, and according to UK gambling regulatory watchdog, it is to continue to grow.
So, online gambling and its continued growth at the expense of traditional gambling operations is undoubtedly one of the trends that is worth having in mind when talking about the future of the UK gambling industry. Considering the fact that the Gross Gambling Yield of the local remote sector rose by 10.1% from the prior-year period, reaching £4.7 billion, or 34% of the overall market share.
An interesting aspect of the UK online gambling market’s development over the upcoming year would be the attitude of the British competent authorities. Recently, the UK Government and the UK Gambling Commission have been focused on imposing stricter regulatory regime on the industry, but for the time being neither one of them have made any steps towards imposing further significant restrictions on online gambling companies in the country.
Back in June 2017, the UK gambling regulatory watchdog issues another report, called Remote Gambling and Software Standards to outline a number of proposed changes for the remote gambling sector. These changes, however, are primarily operational which is why no negative impact is expected to be inflicted on the sector in case that the proposed amendments are brought to life.
As far as online casinos and bookmakers are concerned, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is expected to take some measures against online gambling operators that are not keeping the terms of their Welcome Bonus offers, but still, no specific steps in this direction have been made so far.
When speaking of online gambling, mobile gambling is not to be omitted. Thanks to technological progress, mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets have become more preferred in various aspects of UK residents’ lives, including gambling. In addition, the number of mobile casinos that are being run by some of the largest UK gambling operators is constantly rising, and so are mobile casino and gambling applications.
Playing in online casinos provides local customers with the opportunity to play games of skill and games of luck directly on their smartphones and tablet devices, regardless of the time and their location. So, at times when such technologies literally thrive mobile gaming is expected to also flourish over the upcoming year.
As a result of this trend which has been continuing for a few years now, most online gambling operators have developed large selections of games that could be accessed by players directly on their mobile devices. For the time being, a great variety of mobile applications seems to be available, with each of them offering different features and games available for Android- and iOS-based devices. Another great thing about mobile gambling products is the fact that mobile casino and betting platforms often offer more bonuses.
Considering the above-said, there is no reason for the UK mobile gambling market to slow its pace down over the upcoming year. Moreover, it is expected to grow even further thanks to the constantly increasing number of customers who prefer using their smartphones and tablets to place bets.
Sports betting has always been one of the favourite past time activities of UK players. Both Internet and technological progress, however, have brought spots betting online, making it more convenient, providing customers with the chance to place their bets wherever they are, whenever they want to.
As mentioned above, sports betting has always been quite popular among UK players. Over the past few years, an increasing number of local bookmakers has been going online, providing their customers with the opportunity to bet on a great variety of sports events.
At present times, e-sports are constantly gaining popularity among local players, with online football betting accounting for the largest part of gross gaming profits. Web-based horse racing and tennis betting are also found very attractive by UK players. This trend would probably continue over the upcoming year, and over the following years as well.
For a few years now, UK regulators have been primarily focused on making the local gambling market better regulated. The major regulatory body of the country – the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) – has pledged to tighten the regulatory regime in order to impose better control on illegal gambling operations in the UK, including land-based and online operations.
Earlier this year, an increase in the online gambling black-market activity has been registered, as well as a soar in the local players’ problem gambling behaviour. At the time when this was revealed, the UK gambling regulatory body said that further measures are considered to be brought into action in order to force local gambling operators to be in line with the country’s gambling legislation and industry requirements.
The UK Gambling Commission has also imposed several fines on key gambling operators for failing to comply with the requirements and legislative imperatives. Tighter measures and regulatory regime have been considered by the regulatory authority, in order for more stability in the market to be guaranteed.
Further Consolidation of the Market
As Casino Guardian has reported earlier, over the past few years gambling companies have found it hard to operate in the conditions of a dynamic environment. Lately, the market conditions of the UK gambling industry have become more difficult to operate in due to the constantly rising standards and requirements imposed by the competent gambling authorities.
Gambling regulators have become more focused on imposing stricter measures on the market players in order to provide customers with fairness, safety and transparency. Lately, the gambling authorities have been aimed at minimising the number of operators which offer their services without an operating licence or are not following the legislative rules.
The tighter market conditions have forced gambling operators to start thinking about alternatives that would help them bolster their presence in the market. As part of this strategy, some companies have been considering merger and acquisition deals that would help them consolidate their market presence. In addition, the gambling companies have become more oriented towards affiliate deals.
A number of UK gambling operators have already taken the path towards further market consolidation by considering to join forces with another company or have already entered some merger and acquisition talks. One of the latest pairs in the local gambling industry have been Ladbrokes Coral and GVC Holdings which have only recently revealed they had reached an agreement over a merger that would create one of the largest gambling companies in the world.
Bitcoins and Cryptocurrencies
This year saw rising popularity of so-called cryptocurrencies, and more specifically Bitcoins. Despite the fact that they have caused some controversy in the online gambling and betting industry, virtual currencies are considered the future of web-based gaming.
A great advantage of such currencies is the fact that they guarantee independence from other financial institutions, with digital money providing customers, and in this case, gamblers to process money transfers or withdrawals without using any bank services.
Although digital currencies’ value is considered a controversial issue for the time being, Bitcoins and cryptocurrencies as a whole would be some of the factors that would undoubtedly leave their mark in the UK gambling industry.