The introduction of online gambling in the UK and the Gambling Act of 2005 resulted in a number of operators vying for a piece of the pie in the ever-growing industry. Bringing in credibility to the whole enterprise was the established of the reputed gambling watchdog, the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. Since then, online gambling in the UK has grown leaps and bounds. Players can gamble for real money online courtesy of online casinos, sportsbooks, poker rooms, lotteries and more.
The Total Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) for the UK as of 2019 was estimated to be £14.4 billion. A whopping 37% of that market share belongs to the remote betting, bingo and online casino sector.
Online sector Gross Gambling Yield decreased for the first time in 2019, by £34.2 million (-0.6%). Despite the unprecedented decrease of 37% (£5.3 billion) of the overall gambling market in the UK, the online gambling sector has the largest market share.
Online casino games like slots seem to have most influence over the sector, generating as much as £3.1 billion. Online betting on football and horse races are two of the most popular forms of online betting in the UK after online slot machines.
Let’s take a look at some of leading companies that grab the biggest pieces of the £5.3 billion pie.
The five biggest UK online gambling brands in terms of market cap
William Hill (named after the founder) was launched in 1934 and has evolved into the biggest UK online gambling company over the years. The group has its headquarters in London and was first listed in the London Stock Exchange in 2002.
|Current Business Strategy||Diversify business Internationally through mergers and multi brand strategy|
|Business channels||Online, William Hill US, Retail|
|Stock Exchange||London Stock Exchange (LON: WMH)|
William Hill employs over 16,000 people around the world. Its net income as of 2019 is £27 million. Their main market is the UK, but they also serve the international market, especially the US sports betting market. William Hill’s strategy is to increase their international footprint and have at least 50% of their revenue by 2023 coming in from non-UK markets. They have a goal of reaching £1 billion revenue by 2023.
At this time, William Hill has offices in London (UK), Nevada (USA), New Jersey (USA), Gibraltar, Madrid (Spain), Milan (Italy), Krakow (Poland), Sofia (Bulgaria) and Manila (Philippines).
Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC was acquired by GVC Holdings in March of 2018 and this resulted in the brand becoming the UK’s largest high street bookmaker. Ladbrokes was founded in 1886 and as of today, they the following online products, casino, sportsbook, slots, casino games, live casino, bingo, poker and virtuals.
|Headquarters||Douglas, Isle of Man (GVC Holdings PLC)|
|Current Business Strategy||Subsidiary of GVC Holdings PLC which operates popular consumer facing brands in the online gambling industry|
|Business channels||Online Casino, Online Sportsbook, Live Casino, Retail|
|Stock Exchange||London Stock Exchange (LAD2)|
Up until GVC Holdings acquired Ladbrokes Coral Group in March 2018, the company was listed on the London Stock Exchange and was a member of the FTSE 250 index. GVC Holdings PLC did not change the brand name Ladbrokes as it has already gained traction and brand value. The company also owns popular online brands such as bwin, Sportingbet, partypoker, partycasino and Foxy Bingo.
As of 2019, GVC Holdings has a net income of €140.7 million and a total revenue of €3655.1 million.
Paddy Power was founded in 1988 in Ireland. The company merged with Betfair to become Flutter Entertainment PLC in February of 2016. Flutter is a public limited company which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index.
|Current Business Strategy||Parent company Flutter operates various brands to increase market share|
|Business channels||Online Casino, Online Sportsbook, Retail|
|Stock Exchange||London Stock Exchange (LON: FLTR)|
The terms of the merger between Paddy Power and Betfair were finalized in 2015. Paddy Power shareholders now own 52% while Betfair shareholders own 48%.
Apart from Paddy Power Betfair, Flutter also operates brands like Sportsbet, TVG and FanDuel.
As of 2019, Flutter Entertainment PLC has a bet income of £111.9 million and revenue of £2,140 million.
Bet365 is one of the most recognized gambling brands in the world, and they arguably market themselves most as well. This UK gambling company has it all, sports betting, and all types of online casino games.
|Current Business Strategy||Private company with big marketing budget and international presence|
|Business channels||Online Casino, Online Sportsbook|
|Stock Exchange||Private company not publicly traded|
The Bet365 sportsbook is one of the most popular online sportsbooks across the globe. Their popularity can be attributed to the relentless marketing and the sheer number of sports markets they offer betting on. Bet365 claims to service 45 million customers around the world. They employ 4,300 people.
As of 2019, their total revenue is £2.981 billion.
Sky Betting and Gaming
Sky Betting and Gaming is a gambling brand owned by the British based company The Stars Group. It mostly services the Canadian Market. Sky Bet was brought into existence in July of 2000 when BSkyB acquired Sports Internet Group.
|Headquarters||Leeds, England (Sky); Toronto, Canada (The Stars Group)|
|Current Business Strategy||Owned by parent company The Stars Group that operates several gaming products in North Americas and other international markets|
|Business channels||PokerStars, PokerStars Casino, BetStars, Full Tilt Poker|
|Stock Exchange||Nasdaq and Toronto Stock Exchange|
Net income as of 2018 was US$ -0.1 billion and total revenue as of 2018 was US$ 2 billion.
The brand's premium online casino site is Sky Casino while they also have an online poker skin, Sky Poker. Sky Bingo and Sky Lotto are the two other products. The group also acquired Oddschecker, an odds comparison website in 2007. The site compares odds from several of the most popular betting companies that operate in the Australian and British markets.
One of their other popular sites is Sky Sports Fantasy Football, which was re-launched in 2011 in association with Gillette. This is a free-to-play site with prizes as much as £100,000 on offer.