While we see ever more diversity and choice at our point of use as online bettors, what is often true of virtually any large industry is that the biggest players are operated by large monopolies. A few companies tend to control most of the business. This isn’t entirely true when it comes to online betting, especially with newer sites, but it is plain to see that all of the biggest names in online betting are under the control of only a few organisations.
Let’s look at who operates the biggest betting sites in the U.K.
- Flutter Stars Group
Several mergers went into giving us the Flutter Stars Group over the years. In 2016, Betfair and Paddypower, already two of the largest names in the industry, merged and renamed themselves Flutter Entertainment in 2016.
Then, in 2020, another merger brought The Stars Group into the fold—this brought over SkyBet and affiliated sites as well as PokerStars and a number of other smaller poker games. Based on annual revenue and market share, this made the newly named Flutter Stars group the biggest betting company in the world.
They accumulate on average around £3.8 billion per year in revenue, across their high street shops and their online sites. It’s not surprising that the biggest, most well-established high-street betting companies should have been the ones to secure the greatest share of the online market.
- Entain PLC
Flutter Stars are followed closely by their rival, though: Entain PLC. In 2015, Ladbrokes and Coral were both top players in the online betting market, and with rumours of the upcoming Flutter Entertainment merger, strong initiative needed to be taken to remain competitive—so they merged, too.
This merger was completed in 2016, and the joint company was ultimately bought out by Entain (formerly GVC) in 2018. Ladbrokes is among the oldest companies in Britain, having been doing business since 1886.
Nearly half of Entain’s combined profits now come from their online games and digital sources. In fact, Entain have more customers than any other online betting company—though they still generated overall less revenue than Flutter Stars, albeit only around £100 million pounds less.
In any case, Entain operates some of the biggest and most recognizable betting sites in the U.K.
- Bet365 LTD
Though it was William Hill that was ousted from the runner up spot by the Entain merger in 2018, they now cannot match the spectacular rise of Bet365’s growth—and it has been almost entirely thanks to the online betting industry.
It has only been recently that the overall online betting market has overtaken the high street shops, so Bet365’s growth is really quite astonishing. Built off the back off a traditional, high-street business, Bet365 ultimately sold their last remaining high street shops to Coral in 2015. Now, they attract over 45 million players from across the world.
With revenue at £3 billion a year, they still are not as profitable as those companies which combine brick-and-mortar with online presence. However, it seems an entirely safe bet that the online market will only continue to grow in the face of the shrinking of the traditional betting shops.
Most of the biggest, high-street names tend to come under a single parent company umbrella, then. The simple fact is that these companies were able to get in on the ground floor of these booms, and have since led the way in innovation and customer satisfaction to remain on top. Whether you wish there was more varied control of the big betting sites nor not, it’s hard to deny that things have only gotten better for online punters.