UK Gambling Market Capitalisation
Gambling has always existed in the United Kingdom. By the early part of the 19th century horse racing, card games, lotteries and dice games were the prevalent forms of gambling. The first initiative to regulate gambling was established 1845. A century later, in 1961 The Betting and Gaming Act was passed. Soon thereafter land casinos were established. In the 1990s online gambling came into existence.
In 2005 The Gambling Act was passed and the UK Gambling Commission set up. In 2014 The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act was passed. All online gambling sites licensed by off shore jurisdictions had to be licensed by the Gambling Commission in order to service players in the UK. This led to consolidation in the gambling industry because the smaller operators were unable to adhere to the regulatory requirements. Many operators were already listed on the London Stock Exchange and this period saw a dramatic rise in market capitalisation due to acquisitions and mergers.
Given below are the top UK gambling companies by market capitalisation.
Paddy Power Betfair Plc
Market Capitalisation: GBP 7102 Mn
Originally Paddy Power and Betfair were separate gaming companies. Paddy Power, a predominantly Irish bookmaker, was founded in 1988. Betfair was founded in 2000 as an online only gambling company. In 2015 they merged into one company, with 52% being owned by the former shareholders of Paddy Power and 48% by the former shareholders of Betfair. As a result of the merger, Paddy Power Betfair became the company with the largest market capitalisation. Paddy Power and Betfair continue to be operated as separate brands.
- Online: Paddy Power and Betfair online gambling sites operate in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Betfair also operates an online betting exchange in Europe.
- Retail: Paddy Power operates over 620 betting shops in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
- Australia: Sportsbet is a leading online betting brand.
- United States: TVG Network is a horseracing television channel and pari-mutuel online betting network active in 35 states. In New Jersey, the company has an online casino and a horse racing betting exchange. The company also owns the daily fantasy sports operator Draft.
GVC Holdings Plc
Market Capitalisation: GBP 5551 Mn
The company was founded in Luxembourg in 2004 as Gaming VC Holdings and later reorganized as GVC Holdings. GVC Holdings is headquartered in the Isle of Man, has licences in more than 18 countries and employs over 2,800 employees. The growth of GVC Holdings has come through aggressive acquisition of competing brands.
In 2012 GVC bought a share of the Sportingbet market, taking charge of the entire international operations except Australia and Spain. In 2016 GVC acquired Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment. This itself was a merger between PartyGaming plc and bwin Interactive Entertainment AG. In 2011 Bwin.Party Digital Entertainment became the largest listed gambling company, but failed to perform till GVC acquired it and turned it around. In March 2018 GVC completed the acquisition of Ladbrokes Coral Group plc, which again was a merger between Ladbrokes and Coral Group. Ladbrokes is one of the oldest names in UK gambling. It was founded in 1886 and had a long history of sports betting, particularly horse racing, before moving on to other gambling verticals.
GVC operates the different acquisitions under their original names so as to take advantage of the earned brand equity. The complete list is too large and diverse to give here, but the main products are given below.
- bwin: European online betting brand that offers casino, poker and bingo as well.
- PartyPoker: Pioneer of online poker with a UK focus.
- PartyCasino: The online casino wing of the erstwhile Party Gaming group.
- Ladbrokes: Started at retail betting but now has a growing presence in online and multi-channel gambling.
- Coral: Dominant in the UK retail betting sector.
- Gala: Second largest online bingo operations in UK and full range of casino and live casino products.
- MGM Resorts International: Offers online poker and casino games in New Jersey through GVC.
William Hill Plc
Market Capitalisation: GBP 2847 Mn
William Hill is one of the bookmakers with the longest history in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1934 when gambling was not legal in the country. After numerous ownership changes William Hill was listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2002. The company has headquarters in the Isle of Man but operates globally, employing over 16,000 people.
In November 2008, William Hill went into partnership with the Israeli software company Playtech to boost its own failing online operations. Through this deal William Hill acquired various assets from Playtech, including several online casino sites which William Hill continues to run under the name WHG.
After 2104, William Hill was also involved in M&A deals, none of which materialised. In 2016 there was a large takeover bid by the consortium Rank Group-888 Holdings, but the company executives reported that the offer undervalued the William Hill net worth. Later there was a talk of merger with Amaya, which was soon aborted.
William Hill divides its businesses into three groups.
- Retail: William Hill has over 2,300 betting offices in the United Kingdom. These offer betting on sports and horse races and wagering on gaming machines.
- Online: Online gaming services are offered in UK, Italy and Spain. These include sports betting, online casino, live casino, poker and bingo.
- William Hill US: Nevada is the only US State where commercial sports betting is legal and William Hill has 57% share of this market.
888 Holdings plc
Market Capitalisation: GBP 1144 Mn
888 Holdings was established in 1997 and is the biggest UK gambling company with only online presence. In 2002 888 entered the US market with Pacific Poker, but withdrew in 2006 when online gambling became illegal there. The company was listed on LSE in 2005. Over the years 888 moved into sports betting and bingo. In 2009 it launched Dragonfish as a B2B venture for providing online gambling platforms. From 2011, the company has been working with Caesar’s Interactive Entertainment to offer services in the regulated US online gambling markets. 888 Holdings divides its operations according to product verticals. 90% is B2C and 10% is B2B.
- Online casino: 888 casino, 888 games, 888 live, 777 casino
- Online poker: 888 poker
- Online bingo: 888 bingo, 888 ladies, wink bingo, bingo street and others
- Online sports betting: 888 sport
- Social gambling: Mytopia, Bingo Island
- B2B: Dragonfish