There are hundreds of online gambling brands competing for your attention by sponsoring sports teams, television shows, and events. However, when you look into the ownership of these different bingo, betting, and poker brands, you find that the majority are owned by just a handful of larger companies.
As the UK economy struggles to get back on its feet in the midst of a pandemic, it may appear like gambling firms are the only advertisers around, with different brands competing for the same audience. However, in reality it is often the case that both of these supposed competitors are in fact owned by the same umbrella corporation, with the six biggest companies listed below.
Headquartered on the Isle of Man, GVC Holdings was founded in 2004 and has grown to become one of the biggest companies in UK gambling. The company owns two UK high street sport betting brands and one of the longest established online casino brands, PartyCasino, alongside other gaming brands with the “Party” prefix.
The cleverly named Flutter group is based in Ireland and operates both the Paddy Power and Betfair sports betting brands, which many people may have assumed were competitors. It also owns the US-focused fantasy sports brand FanDuel and the popular horse-betting platform TVG.
Internet-focused 888 was founded back in 1997, ten years before the first Apple iPhone, and soon became one of the most recognisable brands online with its clever use of digital advertising. The majority of 888’s biggest brands maintain the 888 branding, such as 888casino, 888sport, 888poker, and 888bingo, but the firm also owns less obvious brands such as Wink Bingo and Wink Slots.
The Stars Group
Founded in Canada in 2001, the Stars Group operates the well-established PokerStars and BetStars brands, but in the UK the firm is perhaps best known for Sky Betting & Gaming (SBG), which it bought in 2018. Thanks to its agreements with Sky television, SkyBet, SkyVegas, SkyBingo, and SkyPoker had become household names in the UK and an attractive option for acquisition by the group.
The Rank Group
The UK-based Rank Group is the oldest company on this list and can trace its origins all the way back to 1937, long before the birth of the internet. The group operates Grosvenor Casinos, Mecca Bingo, Regal Wins, and Aspers Casino.
Based in Malta and founded in 1997, the Kindred Group operates the popular 32Red casino brand, Unibet sports betting firm, and the Bingo.com website. The group’s operations are most well known in Scandinavia, but also popular in various locations around the world.
The wild west of online gambling in the 1990s and 2000s has made way for consolidation in recent years with each of these firms expanding by a combination organic growth and acquisitions. Whilst some new competitors may offer better welcome offers or other incentives, players appear to appreciate the fact that brands backed by these firms offer reliability and security that new entrants may struggle to match.