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Mobile the major driver of growth in U.K. real-money gaming market

by William Chambers on 06/24/13 11:58:00 am   Expert Blogs

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This article orignially appeared on

Real-money gaming via mobile devices is growing fast in the regulated U.K. market, with research released this week by mobile data company Onavo showing that 4.3% of British iphone users now has a sports betting app. And interestingly Onavo is measuring active use of apps, rather than just downloads, meaning these are paying, betting customers.

According to the research, U.K. customers were using bet365’s app an average of 5.6 days every month, William Hill’s 4.1 days a month and 3.3 days a month for Paddy Power’s app. Onavo also showed that the majority of customers were using more than one betting app at a time.

4.3% might not seem like a huge number, but it is something like 370,000 UK customers based on comScore’s estimates for total UK iPhone users. And the mobile real-money gaming sector is only going to grow.Traditional U.K. gambling companies have been reporting huge increases in mobile revenue year-on-year since the first apps hit the market in 2010.

In the first quarter of 2013, William Hill – which has the most-used iphone app, according to Onavo – reported that 34% of sportsbook bets came from mobile, and said that this was a 298% increase on the same quarter of 2012. The company averaged £18.4m in mobile bets a week during the three months to April 2.

Irish bookmaker Paddy Power reported that half of sportsbook turnover came from mobile in December 2012 and that 32% of total online revenue was from mobile devices. Based on 2012 online revenue, that would mean mobile represented £87m of revenue.

Ladbrokes reported that 2012 mobile revenue was up 93.6% on 2011 amounts, while betting exchange Betfair – one of the first UK companies to get its app onto the market – said that its 2012 mobile turnover was up 58% year-on-year.

Mobile is now the fastest growing sector in the U.K. real-money gaming market and it is only just beginning to be exploited by the traditional market players.

Additionally, what is interesting for the watching social game developer, is that these companies have focused predominantly on sports betting to date. The vast majority of their mobile turnover is from sportsbook products, feeding off the in-play betting boom.

It is only now that these companies are rolling out improved mobile casino and gaming apps. In the U.S., we have seen the likes of Zynga and Facebook struggle due to their slow uptake of the mobile opportunity, is the traditional gambling industry in danger of doing the same?

Betable believes there is huge potential in mobile for social game developers who want to offer real-money gaming, as our partners are doing in the UK today.

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