Stars Group to Dominate UK Online Gaming Amid Market Disruption

Disruption in the UK online gaming market is perfect for PokerStars according to CEO of the Stars Group, Rafi Ashkenazi.

Stars Group UK online gaming

Stars Group CEO Rafi Ashkenazi wants his company to dominate the UK online gaming market. (Image: Bloomberg)

Discussing the gaming company’s plans for 2019, Ashkenazi said last year’s acquisition of Sky Betting and Gaming (SBG) has given it dominant share of the UK market.

“What we’re seeing is, essentially, the foundation that was laid by the SBG team. We are the largest in terms of market share and leveraging on this customer base is something that allows us to grow faster in the market,” the CEO told investors on March 6.

Profitable 2018 Prompts UK Online Gaming Ambitions

Talk of increasing its grip on the UK online gaming market followed the company’s 2018 revenue report. Looking back over the year, the Stars Group saw total revenue increase by 55 percent to $2.02 billion/£1.54 billion.

Based on that total, the company’s gross profit improved by 47 percent last year to $1.67 billion/£1.27 billion.

Helping to fuel the recent surge in profits was the takeover of SBG. Adding significantly to the Stars Group’s customer and technology base, the deal is the main reason Ashkenazi expects to make more gains in 2019.

Operators to Battle Online

With UK operators needing ways to offset impending FOBT changes, the online arena is where many of 2019’s battles will take place.

Between PokerStars and SBG, the Stars Group makes almost all of its money online. However, with rivals such as GVC pivoting away from live betting shops and expanding their digital portfolios, growth may not be a certainty for the market leader.

What is clear, however, is that online gamers are set to see a wave of new products in the coming months. As well as changes to FOBT betting stakes, remote gambling duty will increase to 21 percent on April 1.

With more tax to pay, operators across the board will want to drive as much traffic to their digital platforms as possible. Between this and a battle for supremacy online, innovations will become crucial in the push for new customers.

Although the Stars Group currently has the upper-hand, it can’t afford to rest on its laurels. With GVC, William Hill and other leading brands looking to make their mark, 2019 is shaping up to be a landmark year for UK online gaming.

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