The European online gambling market is growing, and the UK is leading the way, reports Belle Rock Entertainment. However, H2 Gambling Capital figures forecast rapid growth in Italy, France and Spain that could leave the UK lagging behind.
Britain is one of the largest and longest established legal online gambling markets in the world. Since the Gambling Act 2005 came into force in September 2007, it has also been the most open gambling market in Europe. As a result, UK consumers have benefited from a safer online gambling environment, and a highly competitive online marketplace too.
The UK's liberal stance has not only seen player numbers increase, but also helped the country to become the traditional frontrunner in terms of European online gambling revenue.
In 2009, 5.6 per cent of the adult population had participated in online gambling - by 2010 this figure had risen by 32 per cent. In contrast, the rise in the number of internet users taking part in social networking rose by just 4.5 per cent over the same period. Consumer spending on online gambling in the UK has now reached around £1.7 billion per year, around 18 per cent of total UK gambling revenues, and it is estimated to surpass £2 billion for the first time this year.
Legislation continues to influence market forecasts, with analysts paying close attention to the UK government's proposed plans to look into tighter regulation of the online gambling market, and the EU parliament's announcement in November 2011, signalling for a more harmonious approach to regulation across member states.
Whichever country emerges as the EU market leader in the years to come, the overall picture is clear - online gambling across the globe is set to grow steadily, year on year. Currently valued at around EUR24.6 billion, the online market is forecast to reach over EUR32 billion by 2015.
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