The Highly Competitive UK Sports Betting Markets

Written by:
Payton
Published on:
Oct/23/2013
The Highly Competitive UK Sports Betting Markets

Sports betting is highly profitable in the UK, with the government stating that the number of high street bookmakers has already risen by 3% in the last 12 months.

Darren Small, the Director of Integrity at Betting and Sports Data Analyst Sportradar, estimated that the sports match-betting industry, including both legal and illegal markets, is worth between $700 billion and $1 trillion (£435 billion to £625 billion) annually. Football betting accounts for around 70% of this trading.

The 2010 World Cup attracted approximately £1 billion in bets and, with interest in the sport growing globally, gambling on major football events is only set to rise. Football pools have been operating for around 90 years, with over 500,000 people still playing weekly.

However, with bookmakers stating that football results were not as favourable this season as they were last year, they will no doubt be fighting with rival firms to gain the attention of potential consumers in the run up to the next World Cup. High competition in UK sports betting markets has likely been fuelled by customers becoming more astute. More people are now following promotional advice and comparing odds at UK comparison websites such as freebets.com.

Online sports betting are staking high percentages in the UK market, with bet365 showing fierce rivalry with William Hill, who hold 16% of the total fixed-odds market. Online-only Betfair has a clear leadership in sports betting, holding 23% of the total market last year. The growth of online and mobile devices have assisted the increase in market share for these firms, with online football betting alone booming since it first became widely available before the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Increased coverage of events has assisted in generating more customer interests and the continued rise of mobile gambling will only strengthen UK operators further. Mobile channels for firms such as Paddy Power are now close to overtaking sports betting revenues generated via PC devices.

The mobile platform has seen significant success for Sky Bet, who has taken in over a million bets through their recently launched Sky Bet app. The Yorkshire-based betting business has reported a 20% increase in revenues this year, growing to £32 million in the three months to 30th September 2013.

Despite the football season being more favourable to consumers than the firm, Sky Bet has managed to generate half the growth from increased customer numbers and the other half from gaining market share from rival companies. “Ladbrokes and some of the smaller players aren’t going as well,” said Sky Bet’s Managing Director Richard Flint.

Although admitting that “operational progress had not translated into satisfactory results,” Chief Executive of Ladbrokes, Richard Glynn is remaining optimistic about the firm’s position in the market. A partnership with Playtech is allowing them to expand their digital business into other international markets. Glynn added: “Over the next six months, it’s all about delivery, allowing us to take advantage of the exciting opportunities that are still there.”

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