Casinos (including Online) – UK – November 2006

Abstract

The UK casino industry stands at a crossroads. The 2005 Gambling Act, whilst falling far short of its original proposals, will nevertheless act as a major catalyst of market growth. The supply of new casinos is set to grow significantly, and the relaxation of advertising restrictions will open up vital channels to market. For many years the industry has operated in a regulatory straitjacket which has constrained the pace of growth. Consumer demand has remained static and restricted to a small percentage of mainly serious gamblers. Meanwhile rival forms of gambling, particularly betting, have enjoyed meteoric success, encouraged by tax incentives, televised sports coverage and rising Internet penetration. This is now all about to change. Casinos are about to enter the mainstream leisure industry. But at the heart of the planned expansion there remains one great gamble: the punters. The push towards deregulation has come from Government and industry. But whether there is sufficient consumer demand to sustain such large-scale investment and supply growth is the unknown factor. This report analyses the current make-up and dynamics of the UK casino market, past, present and future; investigating the core trends in supply, consumption and new developments impacting on the marketplace, and seeking answers to the key question: is it simply a case of "build it, and they will come?"

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