The British are known to have a proclivity for gambling, with half of the citizens of the island nation admitting to betting on something within a month of being questioned during a 2016 survey. However, there are certain gaming activities in the United Kingdom that are more popular than others.
Betting in Great Britain on Casinos is a Source of Revenue
The U.K. gambling industry is heavily regulated for the protection of everyone involved, but it is also lucrative for the British government, annually generating about 10 billion pounds in tax revenues. Part of the appeal of betting in the U.K. is the access by gamblers to some of the finest online casino sites and sports bookmaking operations, which give participants a chance to do everyone from playing poker to wagering on horse races.
Although most forms of gambling are legal in the U.K., certain activities stand out for their popularity. Casino gambling, whether it be done online or in one of the 150 facilities located throughout the U.K., particularly seems to attract the the British public. Nearly half of the nation's tax revenues are in fact generated by online betting games. In terms of direct casino gambling, the most popular spot in the nation is Mayfair of London. Differing from other gambling capitals of the world, such as America's Las Vegas, casinos in the U.K. lack resort facilities. Although the Gambling Act of 2005 opened the door to such amenities, the country is still devoid of casino resorts.
Online Bingo in the United Kingdom
Bingo is also exceptionally popular in the U.K., with this sector of the gambling industry having generated nearly 4 billion pounds in revenues in 2017 alone. Historians have traced this popularity to World War I, when bingo considered a harmless pastime. The Betting and Gaming Act of 1960 made bingo a legal gambling activity that would attract tens of thousands of players every day. However, the bingo halls that were so popular in the 1960s have largely been replaced by online bingo. Research has also shown that about 80 percent of the British bingo players are women and more than 60 percent of the players in general are under the age of 45.
Much of the rest of the gambling activity in the U.K. revolves around sports. Horse racing in the nation goes back some 500 years and, prior to the 1960 law, represented the only means of legalized betting in the Great Britain. The law also allowed for the first time the participation in off-track wagering, which soon led to the opening of thousands of betting shops throughout the nation. The first online shops appeared in 1990, with remote betting growing into an industry that is today valued at some 2 billion pounds. The introduction of eSports tournaments have attracted large numbers of wagerers while, at the same time, prompting some of the best-known British bookmakers to offer this type of betting.
In 2018, the British gaming industry went international, with British bookmakers beginning to offer their services in the United States. Americans can now place bets at shops run by British bookmakers, including the William Hill service.