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Betting on the North

Last year, investment in the UK tech sector reached its highest-ever level and contributed to a third of the total in Europe. Driving much of that growth were companies in the North of the UK, with betting firms playing a particularly crucial role.

In recent years, several big gambling companies have set bases up North. Sky Betting & Gaming have a Leeds HQ, which is also where William Hill’s creative and branding, technology and marketing teams are based.

Meanwhile, bet365 has set up a base in Manchester, and a handful of Paddy Power employees work in Halifax. Various other big-name brands such as Wink Bingo also work closely with agencies in this part of the country to drive their marketing efforts.

The government has talked a lot about “rebalancing” the economy of Northern England as part of its long-term strategy. Here’s how betting companies can help to aid the region’s economic revival, and why gaming and technology companies should consider opening offices in the area.

Betting Companies’ Economic Impact on Northern England

In Sheffield alone, Sky Betting & Gaming has created 70 new job vacancies via a £3m programme. The company supported 1,549 jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber in 2016/17 (the most recent statistics available), contributing around £304.8m in Gross Value Added (GVA). As far as taxes are concerned, the operator invested £156.7m in public finances during the same year.

But Sky Betting & Gaming isn’t the only operator making a significant impact on the North. In 2018, bet365 pledged to create 100 new jobs in Manchester – adding to the 200 tech professionals it already employs here.

Aside from tech roles in betting companies offering higher salaries than regional averages, their long-term vision is vital for local economies.

Sky Betting & Gaming and bet365 have partnered with the University of Sheffield and University of Manchester respectively, intending to give graduates the best possible start in their professional careers.

Why Else Are Betting Companies Important for the North?

Major betting companies opening highly-skilled positions in Northern England supports the region’s overall technology sector, even for companies that don’t focus on gambling. More businesses can employ people living locally in meaningful positions, along with attracting young professionals to the area and encouraging innovation as a result.

Betting companies looking to source their talent from recent graduates also helps with spreading England’s economic wealth away from just London.

Young professionals can have a career they’re happy with at a lower cost of living than the capital, as well as a better work-life balance. Individuals enjoy shorter commuting times, a less overwhelming day-to-day life and easy access to outstanding natural beauty.

Moreover, this isn’t at the compromise of the rich cultural experiences that make cities like London so appealing.

The Benefits of Relocating Up North

The initiatives carried out by bet365 and Sky Betting & Gaming show that you will still have access to a vast pool of talent outside of the capital. Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Durham all have Russell Group universities, with aspiring creatives also drawn to programmes at other local institutions.

Just as prices are lower for professionals up north, the same is true for businesses. An office in Leeds costs between £150 and £450 to rent per person, per month; this ranges from £200-£500 in Manchester. In London, this would cost between £500 and £1,500.

Local economic growth is also worth considering. Leeds is the UK’s fastest-growing city, and its economy is projected to grow by 21% over the next decade. And for fast-growing firms, it ranks third behind London and Cambridge.

Manchester’s economy is also growing faster than the UK average and plans to become a ‘world-class city’ by 2025. In Sheffield, meanwhile, the local council is planning to generate an extra £7.6 billion in GVA by 2040.

Bet on the North

Betting companies moving highly-skilled roles up north is a sign of the region’s potential for businesses in all industries. Their long-term initiatives are enabling cities like Manchester to retain talent and pursue their lofty global ambitions, along with giving young professionals the chance to nurture a fulfilling career without the added pressures of living in the capital.

The tax contributions that betting companies make to Northern England are also important for improving infrastructure and other public services, raising the quality of life for everyone.

For these companies themselves, the benefits are just as high. Aside from lower operating costs, they can make a more meaningful contribution to local communities. And as investment in the North continues to rise, their success will contribute to an even more prosperous future.