In the UK, where online gambling is regulated and taxed, business is good: Many major online gambling brands have reported improved numbers over the past year and quarter.

On a global scale, Global Betting and Gaming Consultants (GBGC) reports that the online gambling industry increased by 12 percent in 2010 compared to 2009, a healthy recovery from the economic slump that began affecting the industry in 2008.  

And within UK, the big brands are prospering. In many cases, strong online gambling is buoying weaker land-based returns. William Hill, “Britain’s biggest bookmaker by market value,” per Reuters, has reported full year operating profits for the year to December 29 rose by 7 percent to £276.8 million, or $446.1 million.

“This is a strong performance and, in particular, our online business and the gaming machines in our shops have performed very well in the year,” Chief Executive Ralph Topping commented.

Meanwhile, Ladbrokes’ full-year operating profit across the board was up 20 percent, and its profit in online sports betting jumped 16.9 percent last year, per, who connects that growth with the company’s increased Bet In Play program. 23,000 Bet In Play events were offered in 2010 — that’s 27% more than 2009, “with amounts staked now accounting for 42% of total online sports betting,” the article adds.

And, with its recent announcement that it’ll be investing another 50 million pounds in its own online technology, the company clearly sees its future in online terms.

Malta-based Unibet, another big UK operator, has also reported growth of 15 percent over the previous quarter and an overall increase of 7 percent over last year.

“During the first six weeks of 2011 we see healthy revenue numbers for the Group across our major markets,” Henrik Tjärnström, Unibet’s CEO, stated in the company’s recent year-end report. “In particular, mobile betting is showing excellent growth combined with strong performance in Casino & Games.”

An attempt to merge with Sportingbet was scuppered last year, but the company is still ambitious. 

Finally, the Rank Group online gaming and betting company has reported a 2010 profit of £55 million, up from £48 million the previous year, reports

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