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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Home Market Comes First for STS Bet

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When you run a business it’s important to put your efforts into certain markets. The Polish bookmakers STS Bet have announced that they are withdrawing from the UK market.

“It was in 2019 that STS took the big step to launch in the UK market. Their online site included both a sportsbook and an online casino. Just four years later, they have decided not to continue operating in the UK. Not just that, they are also withdrawing from the Estonian gambling market.” – said spokesperson of website casinogambler.co.uk

Don’t for a second however believe that these actions are those of a struggling online betting site. Their annual report was recently released and it made for good reading indeed. Record revenues of £886.4 million were reported by STS. That was a figure which is 4.2% higher than in 2021.

Their gross gaming revenue went up by 9.2% when compared to the previous year. They also had a strong end to 2022 with the fourth quarter being the busiest in their history. That’s not too surprising though as the final quarter of 2022 saw the World Cup take place in Qatar.

That saw STS having a special offer for the tournament. It saw nearly 200,000 new players attracted to the site. During the World Cup, they had almost half a million active customers.

So why are they withdrawing from both the UK and Estonia gambling markets?  Well, closer inspection of the figures show that most of their growth in 2022 was from the Polish market, not overseas.

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When that is the situation, there are two plans that can be carried out. Either concentrate more on the overseas markets or abandon them and make their home market even stronger. The latter of those two plans has been taken up.

The decision to expand into other territories hasn’t been the success they anticipated. It’s gone well in Poland though despite the fact there are economic problems in Poland, including high inflation. Then of course there’s the ongoing war in Ukraine.

Mateusz Juroszek from STS believes that their operating data shows a “growth phrase” in the Polish market. When it comes to 2023, their aim is “a greater efficiency of operations and a number of implemented savings.”

STS are the latest online gambling company to announce their departure from the UK betting market. Last year saw bet-at-home make the decision to no longer operate in the UK.

Why are some overseas companies taking such actions? Firstly, the UK gambling market is a very competitive one. Deciding to begin operating in the UK and securing a decent share of the market simply isn’t an easy task.  Companies from overseas can try their hardest to be successful in the UK but sites such as bet-at-home, Betsson and STS eventually make their departure and concentrate on other territories.

Then there’s the current situation in the UK gambling industry. Sooner or later, the UK Government will publish their White Paper on gambling reform. It’s been delayed on many occasions in the past year, mainly due to the games of musical chairs taking place in Downing Street.

When the White Paper is finally published, it is unlikely to be good news for gambling companies that are operating in the UK. That is particularly going to be the case for online casinos and that has been indicated by politicians involved with the upcoming White Paper.

The last Gambling Act in the UK was passed in 2005. The gambling industry has changed dramatically since then with the arrival of the internet and being able to play on your mobile devices. Therefore, the aim of the UK Government is to bring the current legislation up to date and that will mean stricter regulations for online sites.

This could see maximum bets on casino games being reduced. That’s a measure which would not be good news for profit figures. Also possible are stricter affordability checks to discover if players can actually afford the amounts that they are gambling at online casinos and other gambling sites.

While the politicians drag their feet, it’s not been the case with the UK Gambling Commission. The regulatory body has been busy issuing fines and as was the case with bet-at-home, suspending their license.

All of this and also stricter rules on advertising, has made life uncomfortable for those gambling companies operating in the UK. . While the larger companies can cope with the situation, it’s not so easy for the smaller ones.This explains why the UK gambling industry is becoming less attractive for overseas companies

February 14th was the date when STS ended their operations in the UK. Who knows they may return in the future but now the focus for them is to strengthen their business in Poland even more.

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