Online Gambling’s Coming Home as Digital Sector Scores

More Brits than ever are using the internet to gamble instead of going to physical casinos and betting shops, as the online gambling sector rises and takes an ever-larger bite out of the traditional gambling industry, according to new figures.

Just as the digital world overtakes many aspects of modern business and leisure life, so too is it making solid inroads into gambling and betting, the data, from the UK Gambling Commission, reveals. In the year up to March 2018, the overall gambling market was worth £14.4 billion in Britain, representing a 4.2% rise on the same period a year earlier, but online gambling soared by 12.8% and was worth £5.3 billion, the Commission said.

Much of this is due to the growing availability of websites and apps that let people gamble and bet in real time using improved technology that allows them to get a casino feel without leaving their homes. The convenience of being able to gamble at will, without having to drive to a town or city and perhaps stay at a hotel, is another factor driving online gambling growth, according to industry observers.

Betting on Online Growth

Altogether, there are now 2,820 gambling and betting operators in the UK that hold licences from the commission, of which 360 offer services in more than one sector, such as remote, or online, gambling. And up to September 2018, the number of physical gambling premises in the UK fell by 2.4% (266 places) to 10,808 locations where people can go to bet and gamble, the regulator said.

While the amount of bricks-and-mortar gambling locations declined during the period, the number of operators licenced by the commission increased by 13.8% to 888 online gambling and betting offerings. Over half of these (56.1%) were licences issued by the commission for gambling software and remote casino operations. Most (41%) of these online firms were based in the UK, followed by Malta (21%), Gibraltar (7%), the Isle of Man (7%) and other places, including Alderney, in Guernsey; Ireland; and the United States.

The majority of this online activity was at digital casinos (54.6%), while betting came in second (38.7%), followed by bingo with 3.1%, and others. As to what people are playing at online casinos, slot machines were most popular, followed by table and card games, poker, roulette and blackjack, the figures reveal. The total number of active accounts at online gambling and betting firms was 33.58 million during the period under review, and operators were holding more than £784 million in funds.  

Scoring for Digital Betting

Also propelling online betting and gambling forward are major sporting events, such as the World Cup last year. With the ease of being able to place a bet with just a few taps on a smartphone or computer app, more people than ever are now putting some money on their teams of choice. Last year’s World Cup, for instance, sent Brits into what The Times described as “an unprecedented betting frenzy“, during which some £2.5 billion in bets was placed — up from £1 billion during the previous global football tournament — and a growing number of those taking a punt were women.

Another aspect in the rise of online gambling and betting is the availability of live casino reviews, which allow people to get the information and advice they need before visiting a digital gambling operator, opening an account and starting to play their games of choice.

With more physical operators now focusing more on their online gambling services, it’s a safe bet that such reviews are set to become increasingly indispensable in the years to come.