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GamblingUK's Gambling Market is Narrowing

UK’s Gambling Market is Narrowing

In recent years, the UK online gambling sector has witnessed an unprecedented consolidation, with major companies strategically acquiring their competitors. This trend has led to a narrowing market landscape, where a handful of corporations own multiple brands that appear as diverse competitors to the end consumer.

As the online gambling market is taking over the brick-and-mortar side, the acquisitions are becoming faster and more evident. The motivations behind these acquisitions are multifaceted, ranging from expanding market reach to integrating innovative technologies.

Big Players Make Big Moves

The UK’s gambling market is one of the largest and most regulated in the world. This makes entering the market difficult on your own but easy if you acquire an already licensed company.

One of these big players is Entain. They have been acquiring other companies rapidly to extend their reach in the UK and gain a large customer base from their competitors. According to Bojoko’s iGaming and Acquisitions database, in 2023 alone, Entain purchased six competitors and paid over £2 billion for them. They are also responsible for the third biggest single acquisition of all time when they bought Ladbrokes Coral for £4 billion in 2017.

Their portfolio now covers many of the UK’s well-known gambling brands, which look like competitors to a player.

And they are not the only ones. The Irish-based Flutter Entertainment is what became when two major gambling companies, Paddy Power and Betfair, merged into one. Later on, they merged with The Stars Group, the company that bought Sky Betting & Gaming in 2018 and the owner of the largest online poker operator in the world.

The Impact on Consumers

While the consolidation of the UK online gambling market brings some efficiencies and innovations, it also raises questions about competition and consumer choice.

With fewer, more prominent players dominating the market, there is a potential risk of reduced competition. This could impact customer benefits, innovation, and the diversity of offerings available to consumers. However, the UK’s Gambling Commission and competition authorities remain vigilant, ensuring that market consolidation does not negatively affect the competitive landscape.

Looking Ahead

The UK online gambling market’s future will likely be characterised by a balance between consolidation and innovation. The major players are leveraging their acquisitions to offer a broader range of products and services while also investing in technology to enhance the customer experience. As the market evolves, the ability to adapt and innovate will be crucial for companies aiming to maintain and grow their market positions in an increasingly competitive and regulated environment.

This does leave smaller companies in a unique position. They can create highly targeted services that only cover a small niche but do so in a way that the major companies can’t. Their fate will then be to succeed on their own or get picked up by the major players.

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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