The UK gambling industry has been hit by several powerful forces that have shaken up the sector’s biggest houses and sent the furniture flying.
This blog will provide a commentary on this ‘Perfect Storm’ from the industry’s perspective. We will be offering up Cashcade’s thoughts alongside the views of others from around the business. And we hope that readers of the blog leave us their comments too.
So what are these forces reshaping the marketplace?
Firstly, the UK has always been a country where responsible gaming and gambling has been positively recognised by the government as a popular pastime. Be it a flutter on the Grand National, a night at the Bingo or a ticket for the Lottery, the UK’s regulators have continually taken a positive view of a pastime that millions of Brits enjoy. That progressive outlook has continued into the online area, which offers all the same fun and excitement, combined with the convenience of today’s wired world. This is in stark contrast to other regions, primarily the US where the UIGEA (the American move to ban online gambling) closed the market down.
Secondly, the broadband revolution continues apace, fuelling the number of people who have access to online gaming in their own homes. During 2007, the number of residential broadband lines in the UK rose 22 per cent to 15.6 million, meaning more than 85 per cent of the UK’s internet links are now broadband. And broadband is now going mobile with the increased popularity of so called ‘dongles’, which people can use to access the web from their PCs whilst out and about. Looking further out, BT recently announced plans for the roll-out of fibre-based broadband to up to 10 million homes by 2012. What does this mean? Simply that the sophistication of content, entertainment and gaming that people can enjoy at home is set to grow.
Thirdly, increased media coverage, particularly TV, has taken online gambling to new mainstream audiences and increased its acceptance and credibility. Here at Cashcade we sponsor ITV’s Al Murray’s Happy Hour. While the rise of televised poker has even created a few celebrities, such as Anthony Donohoe.
Fourthly, smoking bans in the UK and elsewhere in Europe, have hit many high-street venues hard, including Bingo Halls. Rather than being sent onto the street to smoke, many people now turn to online alternatives at home, where they can enjoy a cigarette in comfort.
Finally, energy prices have risen so much that people think twice before taking their cars to a high-street venue. When combined with the cost of a drink, snack and parking, the budget for an evening can seem high. Particularly, while online operators continue to offer sizable sign-up bonuses.
Like every other industry going through radical change, there have been winners and losers in the gaming and gambling world. Cashcade and similar professional, responsible operators, have taken advantage of these trends to create a vibrant new industry. One that not only provides people with a safe gaming and gambling environment but, increasingly, provides jobs and new opportunities within the UK. Other companies have fared less well in the face of these challenges.
That’s why this blog is called A Perfect Storm. And from our position in the storm’s eye we will be reporting back on trends and developments in a fast-changing industry. Along with anything else that catches our eye.
We’ll also be reaching out to other operators and players within the industry. If you’re involved in the business and would like to join our Perfect Storm please leave a comment below or drop us a line. We are very happy to publish other people’s thoughts, questions, articles and news.
Look forward to hearing from you soon…
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