According to a report published last month by Deloitte, the UK betting
industry is an extremely large contributor to the nation's economy, with
figures showing that in 2011 alone, a whopping £2.3 billion in betting revenues
was betting's share of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
This is not
surprising considering the UK has such a long and rich gambling heritage, with
the majority of UK adults partaking in some form of gambling - whether it be
playing the lottery, buying a scratch card, placing a bet, gambling in a land
casino or gambling remotely over the internet or via mobile.
New UK Betting Report From Deloitte
Commissioned by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB), the Deloitte report
was intended as an update for a report published in 2010 called The Full
Picture, which also delved into betting's contribution to the UK economy.
These betting reports are very important because they provide a useful insight
into the relationship between bettors, operators and the government.
From the point of view of betting fans in the UK, they could not ask to live
in a more "betting friendly" country, with a betting shop or three on just about
every high street in the land. This means people seeking a physical betting
outlet don't have very far to go to find what they are looking for, with
competition very healthy.
That said, gambling opponents in the UK are quick to point out that because
of the lackluster economic climate, as more and more high street shops are
forced to close their doors, it seems as though they are soon replaced by yet
more betting shops. It is their contention that there are too many betting shops
in Britain already.
Betting Shops Benefit All Concerned
Of course, betting fans, shop operators and the government beg to differ. Fans,
because they have a greater choice of outlets; shop operators because they can
maximise their accessibility in an area; and the government because greater
betting revenues means more taxes, which means more money to help top up
depleted state coffers.
But what the Deloitte report did reveal is that
despite the huge contribution betting makes to the UK's GDP, it has dropped off
since 2008, although the reason for this is not hard to identify - the growth of
While many UK gamblers still prefer to conduct their respective forms of
gambling in person at a land outlets - whether it be to buy a scratch card or a
lotto ticket, lay a sports bet or play roulette or a slot game at a land casino
- many others have moved over to online gambling facilities, and more recently
mobile gambling facilities, due to their around-the-clock convenience, privacy
£400m Generated by Remote Betting in 2011
As proof of this, according to the Deloitte report £400 million of betting's
£2.3 billion GDP contribution in 2011 hailed from remote betting.
would be even higher if not for the fact that the UK's high online gambling
taxes have forced many of the country's top betting operators to relocate to
more tax-friendly jurisdictions. Not only that, but as firms moved offshore, so
levels of employment in the industry enevitably dropped - by as much as 25%.
And despite calls from operators to the government to reduce online gambling
taxes to make it more feasible for them financially to be based in the country,
the government has other ideas. Instead of caving in to these pleas to reduced
online gambling taxes, the government is planning to introduce a "point of
This means that no matter where in the world operators are based or what rate
of tax their respective online gaming jurisdiction requires them to pay, they
will be taxed by HMRC on all of their players that live in the UK.
But even though most affected operators will decry this move if it happens,
they will no doubt continue to service the UK online gambling market because it
is so undeniably lucrative, and thus attractive.