UK Online Poker Market Struggling To Compete With Sports Betting

Posted by Carolyn on Dec 04, 2017 Posted in Poker Industry News | No Comments »

The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released a report detailing the performance of its online gambling industry for the fiscal (April 16 – March 17) which showed that online poker in the UK is struggling to compete with sports betting and online slots. This does not come as a surprise as the global online poker market has been sluggish when compared to the growth of global sports betting and online casino games.

Online Poker Contributes Just 5 Percent To UK Gaming Market

The UKGC report showed that online slot games accounted for $2.2 billion in revenue and sports betting accounted for $2.5 billion during this period. Online poker could only manage to generate $136 million, which is a little over 5 percent when compared to the combined Gross Gaming Yield (GGY) of the UK market.

The online gambling industry in the UK saw an overall increase of 10.1 percent in GGY for the fiscal. This further proves that online gambling in general has continued to grow in the UK but online poker has continued to fall behind. The main reason for this decline in online poker appears to be because UK gamblers prefer to engage in online games that have a higher element of excitement and luck attached to it.

The preference of UK gamblers is hurting online poker which requires a lot more skill to be displayed in order to be consistent at winning.

Online Poker Operators Struggling In Europe

The UK has one of the biggest regulated online gambling markets and the decline of online poker corresponds to the decline of online poker in Europe. Online gaming regulators in Spain, France, Italy and Portugal have struggled for a number of years to boost their declining online poker markets.

The regulated online poker markets in these four countries have struggled because online poker players found regulations too stringent, tournaments not very exciting, poor competition and prize money not very attractive due to the high taxes. Unlicensed poker operators flourished in these four markets as they lured poker players with attractive tournaments and better prizes as they were not licensed and did not have to pay taxes.

France, Spain, Portugal and Italy have now signed a poker liquidity agreement that is expected to come into play in early 2018. The gaming regulators from these countries expect the grouping of their online poker resources to boost their respective markets and make it more attractive for online poker players in their countries.

Should the move prove to be successful, the UK might also have to think about innovative ways to boost its struggling online poker industry. There have been talks in the past that the UK might look to share online poker liquidity with New Jersey but those talks have not materialized. New Jersey recently signed an online poker liquidity agreement with Nevada and Delaware.

Online poker operators in the UK will continue to struggle if the gaming regulator in the country does not take immediately steps to boost online poker interest and revenues.

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