UK Largest Regulated Online Gaming Market in the World

    This speech was delivered by chief executive Andrew Rhodes at the Westminster Media Forum on 13 May 2024.

    Great Britain is home to the largest regulated online gambling market in the world, with a gross value now north of £15 billion, with some 22.5 million adults engaging on a regular basis. It is a huge business and a widespread activity – last year the six largest operators in this country took some 90 billion bets, but it is also an industry with a complicated debate attached to it. People can have very strong views in conflicting directions on gambling and the debate about the balance between an individual’s freedom to decide what they want to do and the need to make sure people are also protected has been particularly intense, as the Government has reviewed the 2005 Gambling Act for the first time.

    It is perhaps worth remembering the 2005 Act, which certainly did liberalise many forms of gambling, was introduced at a time when Friends Reunited was probably the biggest social platform and the first iPhone had only just been introduced. Much has changed since then and we’re now well into the process of implementing the Government’s White Paper.

    Many of the headlines in recent years about the gambling industry have been about poor practices and major fines and penalties from its regulator. Just a few years ago, gambling companies’ compliance with regulations was poor. As an example, in the 12 months to March 2022, nearly nine in ten of our assessments of gambling companies found that major improvements were required. This is why in 2022 to 2023 we concluded 24 enforcement cases with operators paying over £60 million due to regulatory failures. This is the biggest annual total in our history, and we had to issue the largest single penalty in our history. The Gambling Commission in Great Britain is believed to be the most active regulator in the world, often reported to be the source of the vast majority of financial penalties and enforcement action across all of the regulated gambling markets across the globe.

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    15 May 2024

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