Gambling in the UK dates back hundreds of years. Take the lottery as an example. It’s been around since the days of Queen Elizabeth I in the 16th century. Horse race betting is a lot older.
Despite that, gamblers in the UK have had to fight hard for the government to create modern betting laws. In this article, we’ll share a brief history of gambling in the UK since 1960. And we’ll explain how different laws and inventions influenced the industry.
The Betting and Gaming Act of 1960
Before 1960, you could bet on horses and greyhounds but not in many other sports. After the enactment of the Betting and Gaming Act of 1960, gambling became really popular in the UK.
Casinos and bingo halls began appearing in high streets. Casinos were allowed to provide games of skill like blackjack and poker. Within a few years, they also introduced slot machines.
After the introduction of casino games, horse race betting and greyhound betting started to lose popularity. People who would attend greyhound races in the thousands began to focus on football, rugby and other sports.
Many gambling experts believe the Gaming Act of 1960 is to blame for the decline of greyhound racetracks in the country. However, it also helped propel off-track sports and casino games.
The Gambling Act of 2005
The Gambling Act of 2005 changed the UK iGaming landscape for good. It legalized online casinos at a time when online gambling was growing rapidly in the country.
By legalizing online gambling, the UK dealt a huge blow to the black market. It also created a new revenue source that’s now worth £5 billion per year. Another benefit of this law is that it made casino gaming safe for British players.
Every gambling site in the UK needs a license from the Gambling Commission, an agency created to help regulate gambling in the country. Since 2005, more than 2,000 casinos and sportsbooks have applied for licensing in the UK.
In the meanwhile, British people have been embracing online casinos. Over 10 Million people in the country gamble online. Most of them pass their time by betting on sports. However, slots and other casino games also have huge followings.
Newer Gambling Laws
For some, the Gambling Act of 2005 doesn’t do enough to protect vulnerable players. As a result, some advocacy groups have been pushing the government to adjust gambling laws time after time.
The government has made several efforts to make gambling fun and safe for everyone. For example, it banned credit cards for betting in 2019 to make it harder for people to gamble using borrowed money.
Next, it mandated gambling sites to cooperate with GamStop to keep players safe. GamStop allows gamblers to take a break from casino gaming by blocking you from all gambling sites in the UK.
While it’s effective in blocking you out of gambling sites, it doesn’t allow you to get back into casino gaming until your self-exclusion period is over. This rule, plus other flaws, has led to the growth of non gamstop casinos in the UK.
Now that the government has published the gambling white paper, a lot more people might decide to join foreign casinos. The white paper, if implemented, will lead to the reduction of betting limits among other changes.
Payments in the Gambling Sector
Banking has changed tremendously in the gambling industry over the last three decades. Before online gambling became legal, people enjoyed betting inside bingo halls, betting shops and brick and mortar casinos.
Back then, cash was the payment of choice. Credit/debit cards then began rising in popularity. Once iGaming became legal, banking in the casinos became digitalized.
Digital wallets like PayPal, EcoPayz and GPay gained popularity while paper checks lost their mojo. Today, most people deposit money at betting sites through e-wallets or debit cards.
Some people prefer to use e-check and cryptocurrencies. However, these two payment options have their limits. For example, not many casinos accept either banking method.
With that in mind, casinos in the UK have also been progressive as payment methods change. They’ve improved their payout speeds. Payment limits now accommodate both high-rollers and low-stake players.
There’s no doubt that mobile gambling is one of the biggest developments in the UK iGaming landscape. The first mobile betting app launched in 2003, four years before the iPhone.
However, it took a year before mobile gaming soared around the country. There are a few explanations. In the 2000s, most mobile devices couldn’t handle gaming without overheating.
Another explanation is that Google and Apple Play Stores were against adding betting apps on their platforms. Fortunately, the Play Stores changed tune after a few years. More importantly, mobile technology advanced and became affordable.
Today, 60% of online gamblers bet through their smartphones. They love mobile gaming because smartphones are affordable and convenient. Also, they offer everything you would want in an online casino or sportsbook.
They offer popular slots and table games. They support well-known payment methods and give out countless bonuses. The only reason you might not want to use a smartphone for casino gaming is that you want to use a bigger screen.
RNG and Live Casino Games
For a long time, the only way you could play online casino games was by competing against a computer. Now, you can play table games like roulette, blackjack and poker against human opponents.
This is all thanks to the invention of live casinos. Popularized by Evolution Gaming live casinos use video software to provide table games in a virtual, social environment.
Live casinos aren’t just social. They’re also competitive. Some of them allow you to play tournaments like poker and blackjack for huge prizes. That said, live casinos didn’t put an end to RNG games.
Most gambling sites still offer RNG slots and table games. To make these games exciting, they incorporate technologies like 3D graphics, Virtual Reality and mobile gaming. They’ve also improved payout rates to make these games a lot more profitable to players.