(PRESS RELEASE) -- A cascade of regulatory pressures is set to slow growth in the U.K.'s online gambling market over the next few years, according to a new report published today by GamblingCompliance.
The report, "UK Online Gambling: Data Forecasting & Market Shares", projects the UK market will swell to £6.42bn in total annual revenues by 2020, compared with £5.24bn in 2017, growing at an average rate of 7& over the next three years. Since 2013, annual growth has been more than double that rate.
Onerous new regulatory requirements, including more rigorous due-diligence checks and affordability tests, are expected to weigh on online casino operators in particular, with multi-million pound fines in store for companies found to have deficient player protection standards. The report is being published less than a week after U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond confirmed an increase in taxes on online bingo, casino and poker games from October 2019.
"Next year's hike in the rate of remote gaming duty from 15% to 21% adds to the mounting regulatory headwinds and enforcement actions which are challenging traditional operating models and the reliance of operators on high-spending VIP customers," said Daniel Stone, GamblingCompliance's head of data content and the report's author.
"We nevertheless expect the decelerating U.K. market to grow by over £1bn in absolute terms between 2017 and 2020, cementing its status as the largest regulated online gambling market in the world," Stone added.
In addition to future market-size projections, the report includes exclusive estimates on the market shares held by operators in the UK's online betting and gaming sectors.
The report finds that bet365 was the UK's largest online gambling operator by total revenue in 2017, as the Stoke-based group overtook former market-leader Paddy Power Betfair during the course of the year.
bet365 also extended its lead as the UK's largest online sports-betting brand by a clear distance, pulling away from Sky Bet, Betfair and William Hill in a market dominated by seven major brands owned by five different companies.
In the UK's more fragmented market for online gaming, Ladbrokes Coral took the top slot in 2017, followed by Sky Bet, William Hill and bingo specialist Jackpotjoy.
The GamblingCompliance report provides a forensic review of trends in the UK market at a time when consolidation has reshaped the gambling industry. Earlier this year, Ladbrokes Coral was acquired by GVC Holdings, while Sky Betting & Gaming was bought by PokerStars-owner The Stars Group.