UK Gamblers Stake Almost £14 Billion During 2016

UK gamblers spent £13.8 billion between October 2015 and September 2016 with £4.5 billion of that haul coming courtesy of online players.

UK Gambling revenue report.

UK gambling pulls in £14 billion between 2015 and 2016 with online bettors anteing up £4.5 billion. (Image: cascadeall.com)

According to the UK Gambling Commission’s (UKGC) latest report, gross gambling yield for Great Britain’s collection of licensed operators was just shy of £14 billion during the last accounting period.

This figure comes despite a drop in the number of live betting shops and casinos.

Numbers Up but Provisions Down

As outlined in the statistical breakdown, the number of betting shops in Great Britain fell by 1.4 percent between March 2016 and March 2017, while players also had access to one less casino than they did in 2016.

Another interesting stat from the report was that the number of betting machines (Fixed Odds Betting Terminals) in Great Britain also decreased by 0.2 percent. Although not a significant drop, this figure does go against the media assumption that FOBTs are running rampant on high streets across Great Britain.

In terms of online gaming, remote bettors spent £4.5 billion, which means internet poker, sports betting, casino and bingo now accounts for 32 percent of all gambling activity in Great Britain.

UKGC Flexes Its Regulatory Muscle

In other UK gambling news this week, the UKGC has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Esports Integrity Coalition (ESIC). The agreement between the two bodies is the same as the one as the ESIC enjoys with the Nevada Gaming Control Board.

The ESIC is a not for profit members’ association that aims to tackle issues such as match manipulation, fraud and integrity in the esports betting industry. As part of its agreement with the UKGC, the ESIC will share information with the regulator and, moreover, take advice regarding safety and security.

As well as bringing the organisations closer together, the deal will indirectly put esports under the same sort of regulation that traditional sports betting enjoys in the UK. Commenting on the deal, the ESIC’s commissioner Ian Smith said the deal was an important step in the industry’s development as a legitimate betting endeavour.

“As esports continues to grow successfully, so will the inevitable attempts to profit on the back of that success through illegitimate means. This agreement will help protect all the individuals, teams and companies,” said Smith.

Gambling Commission Has the Power to Veto

In a testament to the power of the UKGC, the UK’s Court of Appeal has reconfirmed its power of veto. The case up for appeal started back in 2014 when the UKGC refused to give brewery and pub chain owner Green King a licence to offer bingo.

Not liking the decision, Green King took the case to court and it eventually went to the Court of Appeal’s Civil Division earlier this year. At the centre of the debate was the fact the UKGC believed that, despite its premises being sufficient, Green King wasn’t experienced enough in the gambling industry to offer an effective service.

Reviewing the case, Lord Justice Gary Hickinbottom, Lady Justice Mary Arden and Lord Justice Peregrine Simon agreed with the original verdict and confirmed the UKGC has the right to refuse to a licence any operator it deems unfit for service.

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