UK Remote Gambling Sector Endures First Year of Decline

Mike P. - December 10, 2019

A 0.6% fall in year-on-year revenue for the UK online gambling sector is being attributed to lagging sports betting and stricter KYC protocols.

Fresh financial results from the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) have recently been published for the year ending 31 March 2019. The main headline is a 0.3% year-on-year decrease in gross gambling revenue for the UK gambling industry.

A main contributor to the decline was a 0.6% fall in remote gambling revenue for the period. Never before has the revenue fallen for the remote gambling sector when comparing year-on-year results.

Nevertheless, online gambling remains a key component of the wider industry. For 2018/19, the sector accounted for 37.1% of the industry’s total yield. Stakes were actually up by 7.1% to £118.74 billion, but still a decline was recorded.

Segment Performance

When analysing each segment, it is clear that online casino games were not the culprit. In fact, an 8.7% rise in wagering to £89.68 billion was integral in driving 6.0% growth in yield to £3.11 billion. The yield generated from online slots and roulette betting was recorded as £2.12 billion and £448.2 million, respectively.

Where the sector suffered was in remote sports betting, which endured a steep fall of 10% in yield to £2.03 billion. Even the 2018 FIFA World Cup could not prevent a 1.5% decrease in football betting yield to £991.2 million, while horse racing fell much further, declining 15% to £522.1 million.

Future of UK Online Gambling

When reflecting on the results, experts have speculated that the more widespread enforcement of know your consumer (KYC) protocols may have had an impact, with punters being required to adhere to stricter verification procedures than they are used to.

What is also notable is the 30.6% year-on-year decline in fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £1.2 billion. The revised betting limits on FOBTs only came into effect in July 2019, which falls after the end of the 2018/19 financial year, so this could contribute to further decline for 2019/20.



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