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Which Way is the UK Gaming Industry Headed?


Gambling is a well-established industry in the United Kingdom, with customers having plenty of options to gamble at land based and establishments and online casinos. Following is a study about the country’s gambling landscape in order to understand which direction it is heading in.

Online Gaming to Increase its Market Share

According to figures released by James Green, Programme Director of UK Gambling Commission, the online casino, bingo, and sports betting business collectively has a 29% market share. This figure is set to increase in keeping with global gambling trends. The UKGC studies market trends in great detail in order to shape policies that will help the industry grow steadily and stay fair and free of criminal activity.

Free Bets to be Taxed

Gambling regulations in the United Kingdom have come in for a fair amount of criticism from remote operators. In fact, they expect the soon to be announced tax regime to go against them. Ladbrokes CEO Jim Mullens pointed out that the ‘free-bet’ taxation set to be launched in August 2017 was making the industry feel jittery. This will, however, bring in a lot of money to the government. The industry is expected to generate £45 million in taxes in 2017-18, and this figure is expected to touch £110 million in 2020-21.

Online casinos find that free bets are a very effective tool to retain existing players and attract new ones. Therefore, most casinos, big and small, offer varying numbers of free bets to their customers. Therefore, being faced with having to pay a 15% tax for these gifts will be a major liability for these companies. They have petitioned the government that the resulting tax burden would be far too much for them to bear. There are indications that the government might rework the tax regimen this year.

What’s in the Future for Land Based Casinos?

There are a number of well-established land-based casinos in London but they have been finding it hard to manage thanks to outdated laws. The land based gambling industry is legislated by the 1968 Gaming Act. The 2005 Gaming Act was expected to help the industry by doing away with some of the restrictions that casinos have to operate under. The industry has not shown any growth ever since 2005, and many of the licenses that were issued at that time have not even been used. Interestingly, there has been an uptick in traffic to these casinos over the past few years. In fact, there was a 3.6 million increase in visitors from 2010 to 2015. More than 75% of this grown emanated from London alone.

The gambling industry is seeking to offer customers the kind of gaming experience they get at the big gambling centres at Macau or Las Vegas. Since most casinos get a bulk of their revenues from slot machines even though they offer a wide range of games, casinos in the UK are pushing for laws that will allow them to vastly increase the number of slot machines on offer. Since British casinos earn only 15% of their revenues from slot machines, having more of these will definitely increase their overall warnings. The gambling laws are also very outdated vis-à-vis technological developments in the industry.

Europe’s Mega Gaming Expo Held in London

ICE 2017 came to an end recently, with more than 28000 delegates taking part in the casino industry’s mega event. The event had 567 exhibitors from different parts of the world showcasing a wide range of new products, concepts, and technologies. There were also many learning and networking opportunities during the event.

Looking ahead, the gambling industry will have to factor in the growing impact of the millennial generation.


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