In this article we take a look at the largest online gambling operators and their portfolio of betting sites. We find out who the industry leaders are and exciting mergers that have strengthened their respective group.
You’d be surprised to find out that whilst you may think these companies all work independently and competitively, some brands are owned by the very same company as the other. All of which offer great promotions and fantastic free bets for new players.
Earlier this year, the largest merger in online gambling history took place between Flutter Entertainment and The Stars Group (TSG). The merger which was completed in May 2020, brought together two of the largest betting companies in the industry. Flutter Entertainment, made the acquisition for a whopping approximately £9.2bn, sealing their position as the largest online gambling operator globally.
The betting sites owned by big betting companies are also certain to be regulated and licensed by the UKGC and every site we partner with have all got UKGC licenses.
Top iGaming Groups and Brands
HQ: Dublin / Toronto
Revenue (2019): £3.8bn
Brands: Betfair, Paddy Power, SkyBet, PokerStars + more
In 2016, Betfair merged with Paddy Power in a move that sparked headlines across the gambling world. Overnight, Flutter Entertainment had merged these two large companies to create one of the world’s biggest betting site – 3rd largest at the time. Both Betfair and Paddy Power were huge powerhouses in their own respect. Paddy Power has always been the punter’s favourite whilst Betfair was known for being at the forefront of technology, introducing the betting exchange site. They also led on features such as cash out, in-play betting and live streaming.
This, however, wasn’t the last merger under the Flutter Group portfolio. In 2020, Flutter completed another huge merger with the Stars Group. This brought a plethora of poker-related sites together, which included big brand names such as PokerStars. This move propelled Flutter Entertainment to the number one position, retaining around 38% of the online gambling share.
Flutter Entertainment continues to hold its position at the top spot, due to its diverse portfolio of brands. Paddy Power, Betfair, Sky Betting and Gaming as well as Poker Stars, are all brands that rank very highly within their own space. This also contributed to the great success Flutter Group has come to enjoy!
Revenue (2019): £3.7bn
Brands: bwin, Ladbrokes, Coral, Sportingbet, Betdaq
In 2018, GVC Holdings acquired Ladbrokes Coral Group PLC, creating one of the world’s largest betting groups. Both Ladbrokes and Coral are dominant forces within the online gambling sector and this merger brought together 28,000 employees and 3,500 bookmaking shops together. This single-handedly became the UK’s largest high street bookmaker, topping the previous record-holder William Hill.
Interestingly, the group reported that more than half of their yearly earnings are now sourced through online revenue. Thus surpassing the percentage of revenue generated through the high street shops. It is also believed that GVC retains the highest amount of online customers out of all the online operators.
BET365 Group Ltd
Revenue (2019): £3bn
Recognised as the world’s favourite online betting company, Bet365 has earned this reputation within the digital world. It was reported that in 2019, online revenue superseded revenue gained through high street shops. Bet365, therefore, owes its outstanding performance due to foresight and positioning itself as online, first.
How powerful is the Bet365 Group? Well, for one, they own their own football stadium. If that’s not impressive enough, they rank 3rd overall versus competitors that have a multitude of brands under their portfolio. Bet365 stands alone and was established in the year 2000. Since then, Bet365 has continued to grow its dominance online after selling off its high street shops to Coral in 2005. With great features such as the bet builder, which allows players to create their own bets, this brand continues to be a big favourite for punters.
This is one of the biggest success stories coming out of Britain, within the online sphere.
William Hill Plc
Revenue (2019): £1.6bn
Brands: Mr Green
According to the Gambling Commission Industry Statistics, the UK’s estimate around Remote (or online) gambling is £5.7bn in the year April 2019 to March 2020.
In 2020, William Hill merged their online and offline businesses. Its long-standing history made William Hill one of the most popular UK betting sites. The first betting shop was opened in 1966, over 30 years after the business was founded. It took a further 30 years for William Hill to go from high street bookmaker to an online bookmaker, accepting its first online bet in 1996. A far cry from today’s accumulator betting which the company is known for.
The current market share for William Hill is that of 27%, with 1,414 stores in total.
Whilst it didn’t have a large impact on the company’s performance, it can be noted that in 2019 William Hill purchased a 92% stake in Mr Green.
Revenue (2019): £800m
A truly inspiring story, Betfred is owned and managed by the same people who built it from the ground up. Fred and Peter Done opened the first shop in Salford in 1967 after placing a winning bet on England to win the World Cup! The name of the brand at the time was called Done Boomakers. Today, the company earns near £1bn in revenue.
Betfred, or as it was known then, Done Bookmakers, rebranded in 2004. It was this same year that Betfred launched its digital platform whilst still focusing on is shops. In 2005, the company opened its 500th shop.
In 2006, it became the official partner of Manchester United and Wembley Stadium. This was a massive leap for Betfred’s popularity and a perfect platform to launch its mobile product within the same year. 7 years later, it went one step further and created Betfred TV – the first of its kind in the UK.
Constant innovator, Betfred, is credited for creating the very popular Lucky 15 bet, as well as other famous bets – Double Delight and Hat-Trick Heaven.
Revenue (2019): £800m
Brands: Unibet, 32Red, Stan James + more
You may recognise this group better as Unibet Group. However, a rebrand was in the books after some very exciting brand acquisitions around 2016. The group’s objective has always been to be at the forefront of technology and innovation.
The multi-brand approach of Kindred Group has ensured it remains flexible and available to a wide range of customers. Today, it has over 27 million customers worldwide.
888 Holdings Plc
Revenue (2019): £600m
Brands: 888 Sport, 888 Poker, 888 Casino + more
At first, 888 was known as Virtual Holdings – a company that set up an online casino and grew in parallel with the internet. After suffering a major decline in 2002 due to the U.S’s stance on online gambling, it continued to grow from strength to strength. The group introduced brands such as 888sport, 888 Poker, 888 Casino and many bingo brands such as 888 Bingo and 888 Ladies.
Product Revenue Share
Sport – 18%
Casino – 60%
Poker – 16%
Bingo – 8%
888 Group continues to grow with no signs of slowing down. The group’s growth strategy paid off in 2017 and marked its best year of record revenue. Itai Pazner, who at the time filled the role of COO, went on to be appointed as CEO in 2019, to continue their growth strategy.
The future of gambling seems bright as industry leaders continue to push the boundaries of their products and services. Even with global issues dominating the headlines and affecting various aspects of the industry, it does not show signs of letting up. In fact, this industry will continue to grow steadily as punters continue to be placed at the forefront of business objectives. More customisation, more personalisation, more flexibility means placing far more options in the players’ hands.