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Gambling Industry Bets on Mergers and Acquisitions 
The mergers and acquisitions frenzy continues in the UK gambling industry like no where else on the planet. In the last few years there have been takeovers and mergers in the UK gambling sector than in any other country. So why is this happening here, or is this just the most advanced and regulated gambling economy and its the vanguard for the rest to follow?

Operators are looking to scale up because the cost of the new point of sale tax (PoS), introduced by the UK Gambling Commission in 2016, the cost of compliance to regulators and the endless need to invest in technology are all on the rise. And they are taking the view that being bigger will offset these costs which in some part is true.

According to the Gambling Commission revenue in the UK gambling industry in 2010 was £5.6bn and for the year to March 2016 it was £8.8bn excluding the National Lottery. This represents a 57% increase with no signs of this slowing down. What the commission also said though was that £4.5bn came from online gambling, making it the largest sector and the only one growing the figures.

So mergers like the one between Coral and Ladbrokes, two of the oldest in the business, doesn't make so much sense when the competition is very strong within the Online Casinos business with operators based anywhere in the world competing with these traditionals. They have become the largest bookmaker in the UK, overtaking William Hill, but together they are a small part of the online business, even within the UK.

The 2011 tie-up between Paddy Power and Betfair made more sense as they had different pools of customers and most of them were online and thus expanding the product range on offer from both portals.

Competition is good for customers and playing in the UK you have the added knowledge that the Gambling Commission is the leader in world gambling regulation. So finding the Best UK Online Casinos is made easier when the license is easy to check and players are protected from fraudulent and unfair activities.

The opposite seems to be the case down under in Australia. Not only are Tatts and Tabcorp about to merge into a giant A$11bn near monopoly of Australian gambling but the Oz government seems hell-bent on regulating all non Australian competitors out of the market. The only possible hurdle left to the merger comes on 9th March when the national competition regulator decides whether it can go ahead.

Luckily for us in Europe the European Commission tries to ensure that where ever you are based within the Community you can offer your product to anyone in any of the other EU countries. That hasn't worked everywhere just yet as several governments, like Germany and Sweden, have laws trying to protect state monopolies that they run and tax. The European Court of Justice has ruled multiple times against both countries for their stance on closed borders and things are slowly changing, though both governments are dragging their feet as hard as possible.

What makes the most sense in the merger and take-over business is established businesses, like William Hill, buying out digital gaming software companies, such as it did in August 2016 when taking over Grand Parade Ltd for £14m. More of this would make sense . Indeed William Hill had already bought Playtech out of their joint venture and tried to but 888 so that they could get their hands on proprietary software which is where all the costs and profits are. They failed and are now trying to sell themselves to someone with enough money to make such a purchase possible.

Most analysts expect that consolidation in the gambling industry will continue with large conglomerates coming to dominate the industry but small and specialist companies which focus on niche markets will thrive as new products, like the ever expanding eSports gambling world, will continue to emerge.

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