UK Betting Market Still Growing

22nd September 2021

The United Kingdom has a very long history of gambling since gambling activities with the very first gambling regulations and laws introduced back in 1190 by King Richard. At the time, gambling activities were quite restricted which does not come as a surprise considering this was the very first gambling legislation in the UK. The maximum gambling limit per day was fixed at twenty shillings which is equivalent to around £2,800 today.

In the Middle Age, gambling and betting activities in the United Kingdom were enjoyed by all classes but certain restrictions applied. The nobles who had enough funds to splurge on gambling had more gambling opportunities. At the time, betting on horse racing and cockfighting was quite popular among betting on other things. Serfs were also very fond of gambling and people within this social class mostly gambled in pubs.

At the time of King Richard and the very first gambling legislation, society’s privileges and rights finally started to balance across all different social classes. This positively impacted the accessibility of gambling activities at the time. In the following years, the circumstances surrounding gambling activities in the United Kingdom changed a lot. While gambling activities in the UK have changed a lot throughout the decades and centuries, gambling has been linked to the country’s rich culture and history since the Middle Ages.

The Evolution of the UK Gambling Market

In the Middle Ages, gambling was one of the most popular leisure activities not only among rich Brits but also among people from other societal classes. People from all societal classes gambled but they gambled on different things. Upper-class Brits preferred gambling on chess, cockfighting, and horses while lower-class citizens preferred gambling on dice games. King Richard’s legislation introduced in 1190 allowed only noblemen to gamble and even they were quite restricted.

Gambling was thriving in the country until 1388 when Richard II introduced new gambling legislation in order to prevent residents from spending money on games of chance. Nine years later, another gambling legislation was introduced according to which gambling was only allowed on weekends. Henry VIII and his gambling legislation outlawed gambling activities altogether for lower-class people. At the time, gambling was only allowed at the Royal Court.

Gaming houses, horse racing, and lotteries become very popular in the seventeenth century. The first lottery regulated by the Parliament was introduced in 1694. Not long after that, private lotteries were banned while lotteries were banned altogether in 1823. In the meantime, horse racing was becoming more and more popular. The seventeenth-century also marked the beginning of commercial gaming so gambling activities were no longer exclusive to the Royal Court.

While dice games and horserace betting were very popular in England, blackjack was leading the way in France. If you are interested in learning more about gambling laws and regulations in Norway, make sure you check out that covers everything. Norway also has a long and rich history of gambling but not as rich as the UK. A lot has changed in the UK gambling industry since 1853 when the Betting Act made gambling illegal. Together with the Gaming Act from 1845, all gambling forms for the working class were banned except horse betting.

Fast forward to the 1960s, the Gaming Act introduced in 1968 brought the revival of the gambling industry in the UK and even paved the way for gambling establishments that will open their doors later. Both the Gaming Act that has been in force since 2005 and the Licensing Act introduced in 2003 focused on regulating the industry. Both of these legislations led to major growth of the UK betting sector so today, the UK has one of the most thriving industries of this kind, and the UK betting market is still growing.

UK Gambling Industry Statistics and Projected Growth 

According to a report released by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission, the gambling industry in the UK generated a gross gambling revenue of £5.9 billion between April 2020 and September 2020. Excluding lotteries, the industry’s total gross gambling revenue between April and September 2020 surpassed £54 billion. According to the same report, the total number of premises in the UK was over nine thousand, and over six thousand of these are regulated and licensed betting shops.

From April 2020 to September 2020, the industry’s total gross gambling revenue from gaming machines surpassed £470 million while in the same period, the UK gambling sector generated over £3.1 billion from casinos, bingo venues, and online gambling venues. Members of parliament and other officials in the UK have been taking a serious stance on gambling regulation in recent years, but the extra regulation has not set the industry back. While the gross gaming yield decreased by around £84 million in two years from April 2018 to April 2020, the decline was seen only in non-remote gambling activities while online betting and gambling increased by over 4%.