Impact of Slot Developers on UK’s £4 Billion Online Casino Market Since 2015

UK's £4 Billion Online Casino Market

Online gambling became legal in the UK way back in 2005.

But it wasn't until 2015 that the remote casino industry began to see an uptick in its Gross Gambling Yield (GGY).

It has been on a steady rise, outperforming the offline casino industry ever since.

As per the Gambling Commission, the industry made £4 billion in GGY from April 2022 to March 2023—the highest in 15 years, with a 4.8% increase from the previous period!

Impact of Slot Developers on UK’s £4 Billion Online Casino Market Since 2015

While there are multiple factors at play, let's discuss the contribution of gambling software providers to this impressive growth.

What Do Statistics Say? 

Here's a graph depicting the number of licensed activities in the UK over the years.

graph depicting the number of licensed activities in the UK

We are precisely looking at the figures for:

  • Total licensed activities
  • Licensed remote gambling activities
  • Licensed gambling software

The industry's total number of licensed activities has fallen from 4,108 in 2008-09 to 3,229 in 2022-23.

The UKGC's stringent rules could be a reason.

However, we are also seeing a cooccurring rise in the number of licensed remote gambling activities and gambling software for the same period.

Here's a clearer picture of the latter:

number of licensed remote gambling activities and gambling software

The number of licensed remote gambling activities has increased from 201 in 2008-09 to 599 in 2022-23.

Likewise, the number of licensed gambling software has increased from 99 to 315 for the period.

Now, a common aspect in the three graph lines is the significant spike in 2015.

Here are the figures reported by the Gambling Commission:

Reporting YearTotal Activities LicensedRemote Casino, Betting & BingoGambling Software Licensed

Two factors appear to be behind this surge:

  • The Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Act 2014
  • The 2015 amendment to the Gambling Act 2005

The first mandates that remote gambling operators targeting British players, whether based in the UK or elsewhere, must hold a UKGC licence.

The second requires all licensed operators, including remote gambling operators, to use software from licensed developers.

What's intriguing is that licensed remote gambling activities and gambling software have steadily increased in the face of the declining number of total licensed activities.

This tells us that over the years, remote gambling operators and gambling software providers have played a major role in shaping the UK's gambling market.

The Gambling Commission also reports that remote gambling commands the largest revenue share from the £4 billion online casino industry.

online casinos operators and gambling software providers have played a major role in shaping the UK's gambling market

Therefore, it would be safe to assume that popular casino software providers offering RNG and live games are the top catalysts.

They have not only changed how players enjoy online casino games but also met the increasing demand for top-notch online casino experiences.

However, while the UKGC has not provided specific statistics for RNG and live dealer games, here's a breakup of the contributions from different game types since 2015:

UKGC has not provided specific statistics for RNG and live dealer games

Clearly, online slots have always been the go-to games with roulette, blackjack, peer-to-peer poker and other games falling far behind.

This is further evident from the turnover and GGY figures for these games published by the Gambling Commission:

Turnover (£m)
Reporting PeriodTotalBlackjack*Card Game*OtherPoker Peer to Peer**Roulette*SlotsTable Game*
2014 – 20156,761.34492.81223.165,171.23874.14
2015 – 201662,227.598,350.193,464.1034,938.8915,474.41
2016 – 201771,778.848,826.135,055.5541,270.2016,626.95
2017 – 201881,262.012,194.046,510.416,587.654,459.2349,252.4512,258.23
2018 – 201988,573.009,326.614,962.2818,186.2256,097.88
2019 – 202091,906.168,240.915,375.6418,155.1060,134.52
2020 – 2021112,741.388,455.306,923.2821,956.5275,406.28
2021 – 2022106,206.036,937.105,799.1618,780.0174,689.75
2022 – 2023102,071.436,077.026,128.8715,056.5974,808.95
Gross Gambling Yield (£m)
TotalBlackjack*Card Game*OtherPoker Peer to Peer**Roulette*SlotsTable Game*

*Blackjack and Roulette replaced Card Game and Table Game on the regulatory return form from April 2017 to March 2018.

**Poker Peer-to-peer games show no turnover as they operate on a commission-only basis.

Simply put, the main drivers of growth in the remote casino industry are none but slot developers!

Who Are the Pack Leaders? 

We'll list down the top three slot developers dominating the UK online casino industry:

  1. Microgaming
  2. Playtech
  3. NetEnt

These developers have introduced unique games that have delighted players and helped in revenue generation.


Isle of Man-based Microgaming has been a forerunner in online gambling.

They created the world's first true online casino software in 1994 and have been innovating ever since.

This ground-breaking platform allowed online casinos to offer players worldwide a wide range of games.

Microgaming was also among the pioneers of online slot machines.

Their first progressive jackpot game, Cash Splash, and their first branded slot game, Lara Croft Tomb Raider, were both groundbreaking.

In 2004, they developed the world's first mobile casino software as well.

Then in 2005, they introduced Myslot, their first customized online slot game.

With their modern technologies and popular games like Mega Moolah and Immortal Romance, Microgaming has been a major player in the UK remote gambling industry.

Mega Moolah, in particular, has made headlines for its Guinness record-breaking progressive jackpot payouts.

For the uninitiated, Microgaming operates under Apricot Investments Limited, licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission under account number 39073.


Established in 1999, Playtech released its first casino product in 2001.

Since then, the company has become the leading international creator of web and mobile gaming software.

Their clients include major UK gambling operators, governments, and regulated agencies.

Playtech's growth strategy focuses on creating top-quality games and partnering with leading online casinos.

This approach has made them the largest online casino software provider traded on the London Stock Exchange.

The company is also part of the FTSE 250 Index, reflecting the strength of the UK economy.

Popular slot games like Age of the Gods and Gladiator contribute to Playtech's success.

Through significant investments in research and development, the software provider stays ahead in technological advancements.

Acquiring companies like Ash Gaming and Quickspin has further boosted their position.

Licensed and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission under account number 38516, Playtech continues to dominate the UK online gambling market with its calculated actions.


NetEnt, short for Net Entertainment, is a Swedish software provider famous for its cutting-edge slot games.

Players and online casino operators alike have come to love the brand for their dedication to delivering top-quality content.

NetEnt games offer thrilling gameplay, captivating themes, and stunning graphics.

You can find NetEnt's slots at hundreds of UK online casinos.

Their best-known games include Starburst, Gonzo's Quest, and Dead or Alive.

Starburst in particular has become a cult classic, renowned for its vivid colours, easy gameplay, and regular rewards.

Gonzo's Quest is equally praised for its immersive Mayan atmosphere and special Avalanche feature.

These games highlight NetEnt's skill at producing visually striking slots with high entertainment value.  

NetEnt is licensed and regulated by the Gambling Commission under account numbers 39861, 39600, 39361, and 39360.

What's Slot Gaming Like at a UKGC Online Casino?

The Gambling Commission is responsible for licensing and regulating online slot developers under the amended Gambling Act of 2005.

Regardless of location, any developer is obliged to get a UKGC license if their products are available to Brits online.

This ensures you get to play fair games responsibly.

However, slot gaming in the UK has unique rules:

  • There's a 2.5-second delay between every two spins.
  • Bonus buy features don't work.
  • Stop spin, auto spin, and any feature speeding up play or creating false win illusions of control are banned.
  • Sounds or images that make it appear like you've won when you've actually just broken even or even lost are forbidden.
  • Casinos must show your total wins, losses, and time played during slots sessions.

Introduction of stake limits has also been proposed: max £2 stake per spin for 18 to 24-year-olds and £5 for adults aged 25 and up.

Crazy, right?

Surprisingly, slots bring in the most revenue for online casinos!

Why? Because of these reasons:

  • No-brainer gameplay requiring no specific skills or strategies.
  • Appealing to players of all ages and experience levels.
  • Wide range of themes catering to diverse tastes.
  • Advanced graphics and sound effects enhancing the audio-visual experience.
  • Innovative bonus features and unique mechanics creating captivating gameplay.
  • Possibility of winning big and even life-changing amounts.
  • Fast-paced gameplay.
  • Plenty of casino bonuses, especially free spins.
  • Easy accessibility with increased mobile device and high-speed internet usage.
  • Peace of mind provided by the UKGC.

No wonder slot developers are ruling the roost in UK online casino gambling!

With extensive experience in the professional iGaming industry since 2015 and thousands of casino articles and reviews under his belt, Mattias is a seasoned expert well-versed in the world of online casino gambling.
Having worked with industry giants such as Betsson Group and earning recognition as an expert in the UK online casino industry, Mattias brings a wealth of knowledge and credibility to his role as a dedicated iGaming journalist.
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