As the industry expands, the multitude of different ways online bettors have to wager in the UK is only growing. When it comes to this relatively new remote industry, you may be curious about the laws that brought it into fruition and how this industry now affects the UK.
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With roots dating back to the 1990s and official legalization as recent as 2005, UK online gambling is now a huge operation. The country’s economy benefits significantly from online gambling, which regularly contributes billions of pounds.
To learn more about online betting in the UK, including the history of its legalization, statistics on its economic impact, and more, keep reading. We’ll also share statistics and details about demographics that make up the UK’s gambling industry, and more. Let’s get into it!
Among the many betting sites that UK residents can access, it’s worth noting which ones lead the industry. Some of these operators have even bought out their competitors to create companies that own multiple online gambling sites.
The following major UK bookies – which offer casino and sportsbook wagering opportunities – are some of the biggest revenue sources in UK online gambling.
These betting operators are some of the largest in the UK, each with thousands of staff to keep them running and meet the needs of their large clientele.
UK online sportsbooks and casinos have had an interesting journey leading them to the industry we know today. Over the past several decades, legislation has made it possible for the online gambling world to thrive and for UK residents to enjoy these bookmakers without fearing the legal repercussions.
Believe it or not, online betting in the UK is a fairly recent addition to the list of ways people can gamble legally. It wasn’t until 2005 that the UK Gambling Act made Internet betting okay, as long as the sites are regulated and licensed by the UK Gambling Commission.
And the UK Gambling Commission didn’t officially take over until 2007 came around.
It wasn’t until certain legislation was passed that online bookies had to deal with taxes in the UK. Specifically, betting sites had to start adhering to profit tax laws when it came to UK punters, starting in 2014. This was known as the Gambling Licensing and Advertising Act.
There are several different licenses that UK online bookmakers can acquire if they want to support legal gambling. Specifically for the Internet bookmakers, the required licenses are known as remote general betting licenses.
Starting in 2014, remote bookies in the UK had to start acquiring UK licenses in order to be legal.
If you’re curious as to the origins of online betting sites in the UK, you can look directly towards companies like Betfair and William Hill.
Betfair started as a UK betting exchange that joined the Internet at the turn of the millennium. And William Hill has even older online roots in the UK – going back to 1998 – as well as official in-person betting origins in the 1930s.
But before UK punters had online sportsbooks and casinos to turn to, there were the brick and mortar establishments of yore. And these didn’t even become legal until the year 1960.
At that point, the UK’s Betting and Gaming Act finally passed in order to make it possible for players to go to the casinos and sports betting locations legally.
There is also something called “duties” when it comes to UK online gambling. This refers to money that betting sites have to pay, with varying rates depending on the type of bet placed.
Much of the UK gambling industry is centralized in London, where more than 1,000 betting shops exist.
When it comes to the most popular online wagering markets for UK bettors, football matches, horse races, and greyhound races take the lead.
Did you know that it’s actually legal to place wagers from inside a UK pub? UK betting sites that are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and offer mobile betting make this possible. As long as UK bettors don’t place bets on behalf of other people, this is considered valid.
According to England’s National Health Service, the UK gambling industry is more focused on growing the gambling industry than it is helping problem gamblers.
The industry spends around 1500 times as much money to advertise and market gambling as it does to deal with gambling addiction and other negative outcomes of the industry.
The amount of online betting UK players can access is substantial these days. With Internet bookmakers licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, such as Bet365 and William Hill, gamblers can conveniently access their wagers.
The UK online gambling industry rakes in billions of pounds and involves millions of gamblers (mostly in the 40s-50s age range and mostly men). And these numbers are only growing as the years pass.
It’s a huge industry that has grown considerably in the past two decades since UK legislation made it legal.
It is estimated that more than 2 million people in the UK take part in the online gambling industry. These numbers keep growing on a yearly basis by around 7%. And in terms of money, the industry of online sports betting alone is worth over half a billion pounds.
According to 2019 statistics gathered in the UK, around 47% of residents take part in gambling. It’s worth noting that these stats are only based on studies that asked participants if they gambled in the last several weeks.
In the UK, the average person gambles around £70 per week on betting and other gambling activities. It’s estimated that men often spend more on gambling in the UK than women do, and the numbers are also higher in London compared to other areas.
Although the age range is fairly consistent when it comes to middle-aged individuals, there is a difference among men and women gamblers. According to 2018 Gov.UK data, 15% of England men gamble online versus a relative 4% of England’s women.
Gambling is an inherently risky practice, and the average adult gambler will lose around £9,000-£18,000 each year. This is common even among individuals with salaries that don’t exceed these numbers by much.
The UK economy benefits from the gambling industry in multiple ways. First, there is UK betting on its own, which adds more than £6 billion.
Then, there is the contribution that comes from UK gambling tax revenue, which is worth more than £7 million. In the year 2021 alone, nearly £3 billion in gambling taxes went to the UK treasury.
Provisions of the UK’s 2005 Gambling Act serve to protect children from the harmful repercussions of gambling. This is why there are minimum age requirements for certain gambling actions (16-18 years old usually).
But the most common age group in the UK tends to be those between their mid-40s and mid-50s.