The gambling sector is the UK is one of the most lucrative in the country, generating over £14 billion in revenue in 2018 and contributing billions in taxes and charitable causes according to data gathered and released by the Gambling Commission.
Despite this significant and rapidly growing contribution, much of the recent headlines would suggest that the British gambling sector in an industry in retreat.
Much has been said about recent attempts by the government to clamp down on gambling of all stripes and to introduce new legislation to curb the variety of gambling options available, such as the recent move to impose maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals across the UK. The impact of these restrictions on the popularity of casino gaming seems negligible, given that gambling is more popular and more profitable in the UK than ever before.
Revenues are up, new casinos are opening across the country, and a growing percentage of Brits partake in gambling at least occasionally. So what explains this burgeoning popularity in the face of such determined legislative hostility? Let’s take a look at why Brits love a bit of gambling.
The Rise of Online Casino Gaming
Much of the increase in gaming-related revenues in the UK has come from the online casino industry, with digital casino platforms exploding in popularity over the past few years. There are a few major providers of online casino gaming based within the country that enjoy widespread popularity, partly because they are able to offer hundreds of slots, card games, and other forms of online gambling at the touch of a button.
What’s more, these digital platforms have become increasingly innovative in their attempts to lure in new players. They offer increasingly generous sign-up bonuses worth hundreds of pounds, and several perks for loyal players. The emphasis on retaining players through high-quality service has contributed significantly to growth, with sites such as NetEnt Stalker, a dedicated website for devoted NetEnt fans, highlighting how the online casino industry has been able to foster a community of players.
The digital revolution has legitimised online gambling among UK audiences, making it the most popular form of gambling in the country.
Gambling as a Lifestyle Activity
Part of the sustained popularity of gambling in the UK is related to shifting cultural attitudes. Land-based casinos in the UK a few years back were generally not the trendiest of establishments.
That’s all changed in recent years, with major casino developments such as the Victoria Gate Casino in Leeds and the Aspinall’s Casino in London demonstrating how a night of gambling can be a trendy (and Instagrammable) group activity.
While still retaining a focus on quality slots and table games, newer casino complexes in the UK have focused on including award-winning restaurants, hipster bars, and large nightclubs with big DJ bookings to attract gamers.
Whether this represents a general shift towards a more Las Vegas style of casino gaming in the UK remains to be seen, but it’s clearly a strategy that is working.
One of the quiet revolutions that doesn’t attract much commentary when it comes to the gaming industry is the proliferation of smartphone technology. The significant leaps made in the realm of mobile accessibility has meant that the overwhelming majority of the adult population of the UK now has unlimited to access to mobile casino gaming anywhere in the country.
This means that players can now enjoy the kind of casino games previously reserved for high-end casino floors during their morning commute or from a dentist’s waiting room. This development has completely altered how British gamblers perceive the activity of gambling, making it more accessible than ever before and reinforcing its popularity as a great British pastime.
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