It’s an understatement to say that gambling is a popular pastime in the UK—Brits love to bet and it’s become a major commercial and social activity, to the extent that the gambling market in the UK is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.28% from 2015-2019.
The gambling market generates revenue from betting, remote gambling, lotteries, and gaming, with betting (which includes betting on sports and on gaming machines) being by far the most popular.
While maintaining growth can be hard in a saturated market, a few economic and technical improvements are helping to stimulate the gambling market in the UK.
Six Key Factors Driving Growth of Gambling in the UK
Availability of Cash Alternative Options
Online alternatives to hard cash are revolutionizing gambling. Not only do virtual currencies and online transactions reduce the risk of carrying cash, they also allow for much larger transactions. This isn’t necessarily a good thing if you’re the one doing the gambling, but from a market perspective it’s good news—it helps casinos and other outlets track the spending history of customers, and offers scalability to handle bigger and bigger gambling populations.
Tremendous Growth in Remote Gambling
Remote gambling is growing faster than any other segment in the gambling market in the UK, at a CAGR of 13.61% over the forecast period. Online sportsbooks are getting more popular, and closing the gap on vendors with brick-and-mortar business models.
Easing Government Regulations
Despite the fact that gambling is still a strictly regulated industry, it has some major economic benefits that are hard for any government to ignore:
- Revenue in the form of tax dollars
- Employment opportunities
- Increased tourism
- Attracting foreign investment
- Helps overcome budgetary gaps
And it turns out the pros of gambling outweigh the cons, which has encouraged governments in the UK to relax some regulations in order to take full advantage of gambling as a source of tax dollars.
The UK GDP has been stabilizing since the 2008-2009 global recession and the 2011-2012 Eurozone debt crisis.
As the economy improves, people are more comfortable spending on leisure activities.
Gambling is one of the most popular leisure activities in the UK, with about 75% of the adult population participating every year. In this sense, the rallying GDP is definitely a harbinger of market growth.
Increase in Number of Tourists
Tourism in the UK increased by 3.15% from 2013 to 2014, and governments in the area are looking for ways to leverage the growth in tourism to collect taxes and duties from casinos and other gambling premises.
Rising Popularity of B2 Machines
B2 gaming machines are becoming very popular in the UK; the average number of B2 machines in betting shops increased from 32,832 in March 2011, to 33,209 2013. The widespread availability of these machines is expected to increase overall revenue of the gambling market in the UK during the forecast period.