The UK and EU Online Gambling Markets

Two Years on from Brexit, How Do the UK and EU Online Gambling Markets Compare?

Europe’s online betting industry was dealt a blow two years ago when Britain’s long-heralded exit from the European Union was finally enacted. Since then, a lot has happened – not least a pandemic that has swept across the world. So, more than two years on from Brexit, how do the online gambling markets in the EU and UK compare?

Europe’s Online Betting Market

The gambling sector among European nations is faring generally well. A report published by Mordor Intelligence predicts ongoing growth over the next five years, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.2% between 2016 and 2027. The report’s authors cite a “migration from offline to online gambling” during the worst of the pandemic restrictions as one of the key drivers behind this growth rate. Improved digital technology is also expected to maintain this rate in the coming years, even as physical casinos and gambling outlets reopen for business.

However, these figures still include markets outside of the European Union, such as the Russian market and the UK market, the latter of which left the EU when Brexit was executed two years ago.

Online Gambling in the Post-Brexit Landscape

Removing the United Kingdom from these figures paints a different picture. In 2020 – the first year of effective separation between the UK and the EU – the UK was the continent’s online gambling powerhouse. Not only did the UK lead the way in terms of overall gambling revenue at €16 billion per year, but the nation also ranked third in terms of online gambling’s share of that revenue (59.3%).

Only Denmark (59.4%) and Sweden (66.2%) outranked the UK in terms of online gambling’s market share – two EU countries but both outside the European shared currency zone. Germany and Italy – at just over €12 billion and just over €13 billion, respectively – came close to the UK in terms of overall gambling revenue, but the gambling markets of these nations are dominated by physical casinos and outlets.

Looking to the Future of Gambling in the UK and EU

Post-Brexit, the UK’s gambling industry is now overseen solely by the country’s centralized Gambling Commission, as well as separate devolved bodies that operate with a degree of autonomy in some constituent jurisdictions, such as Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. The UK, recognizing the importance of its own domestic market to the broader online gambling market in the EU, has championed the online betting sector as one of the nation’s key business assets.

Since the Covid-19 lockdowns forced gamblers out of casinos and restricted them to online platforms, the UK market has surged further. This has taken a knock recently, with the UK’s online market registering a 1% yield dip in Q4 2021 as physical outlets reopened – the biggest fall in two years. However, this decrease is relatively minor in the context of such major growth during the Covid-19 period.

Online gambling in the UK looks to be in good health, and we can expect this to continue in the coming years. In Europe, the online betting outlook also remains good, although EU markets are still coming to terms with the loss of one of their biggest local partners two years ago.

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