Welcome to the EGR Power 50 2018. Now celebrating its 15th birthday, EGR’s annual rankings of the online gambling industry’s biggest operators has consistently provided one of the most comprehensive overviews of the sector and remains an effective tool for companies to benchmark against their competitors.
Click HERE to view the rankings.
And if M&A was the key theme of 2016 and 2017, then this year’s motif was undoubtedly regulation and social responsibility. Many of the leading online gambling markets right across the globe have undergone a period of significant upheaval in recent months. Take the UK as an example. Since last year’s Power 50 was published, the world’s largest regulated market has seen the regulator flexing its muscles with substantial financial penalties, the announcement of a new wave of tax rises, and the emergence of what many believe is a long overdue emphasis on the importance of responsible gambling.
Yet that is only the tip of the iceberg. Over in Italy, the country’s populist coalition government, which includes the far-right Lega Nord and the anti-establishment Eurosceptic Five Star Movement, sent shockwaves through the sector a few months ago by pledging to introduce a blanket ban on gambling advertising and sponsorship. Meanwhile, just as this year’s Power 50 was going to print it was announced a similar, although not quite as restrictive, ad ban would be introduced in Belgium too.
It’s clearly not been the easiest 12 months to have been involved in the online gaming industry. Yet it’s not all bad news. This year will also go down in history for being the year when the US finally ditched PASPA and opened up the market for regulated sports betting on a state-by-state basis. This trend has had little impact on this year’s Power 50, with a few notable exceptions, but the vast majority of operators listed in the following pages are already jostling for position across the pond.
So what are the most visible changes to the 2018 edition of the Power 50? Consolidation, which in many ways is the natural consequence of increasing regulatory changes and shrinking margins, is once again the key driver behind changes in the top 10, with GVC Holdings’ position boosted by its deal with Ladbrokes Coral (LCL) and likewise The Stars Group following its acquisition of Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG) the catalyst here. Readers will also note the inclusion once again of German betting giant Tipico which provided its key financial numbers exclusively for the Power 50.
Finally, EGR has kept with its tried and tested formula of judging each company by its international reach (whereby regulated markets are given a higher weight than grey and black markets), strategy and impact, market influence and leadership, and financial prowess. For the latter criteria, the Power 50 relies heavily on the work and expertise of accountancy heavyweight BDO which helps EGR crunch the most important numbers.
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