Gambling dates all the way back to 2300 BC, making it a popular pastime thousands of years in the making. Over that time, the games and rules have changed dramatically, making today’s experience almost incomparable to the one that gamblers had in the past. It is always changing and evolving, shifting to meet the demands of society. Today’s gamblers appear to be in a similar state of flux. While the industry is poised to grow over the next few years, the way that the rising number of players will gamble is moving away from land-based casinos. Instead, they will likely pick up online gambling as their preferred method.
Are Londoners part of this rise of online gambling? Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about the rising remote gambling trend and what it means for players in the UK.
The UK gambling market
The UK gambling market is surprisingly well-established. The country began issuing licences before it became the billion-dollar industry it is today. And many citizens enjoy gambling in one way or another. Horse racing, for example, is a particularly popular form of gambling throughout the country, while bingo dominates village halls, online operators and land-based casinos alike. Londoners are no exception to this, with many in the city cashing out the occasional spin or bet to wind down after work.
In 2022, the UK’s gambling market was valued at more than £14bn. Online gambling accounted for more than £3bn of that. This might not seem like an immense amount, but that figure has been steadily growing since the Gambling Act of 2005 was enacted. In fact, online gambling has risen from just 13.2% in 2019 to 17.2% in 2022.
More people in the UK, including Londoners, are turning to online gambling than ever before. Sports betting, in particular, is quickly turning into a majority-online activity.
Why is online gambling rising?
We know that the number of Londoners interested in online gambling is rising, but why is this gaming method a popular one? And what has changed in recent history to see its popularity soaring over the last few years? There are several reasons why mobile gaming and gambling are on the rise.
In-person gambling is the method that most often comes to mind when thinking about social gambling. In recent years, however, this has started to change. As technology becomes an increasingly present part of everyday life and the amount of time we spend interacting with it rises, the ease of using one or two devices for everything you need or want to do also increases. This is driving the change from in-person to remote activities.
A decade ago, the idea of using an online app to have groceries delivered reasonably, and even regularly, was a far-fetched one. It wasn’t until relatively recently that the demand for grocery delivery increased. This is a highly noticeable shift from an activity typically done in person to one that is completed by someone else, offering consumers increased convenience for their time and money.
Another example of the shift from in-person to remote comes in the form of doctor’s visits. Telemedicine used to be a last-resort option, with in-person office visits being preferred, by far, by patients and doctors alike. Recently, however, the convenience of on-demand medical care without the need to take time off work or out of your day to visit a physician’s office in person has become appealing to many. The number of telemedicine options available has boomed as a result.
What does all of this mean for online gambling? Well, online gambling is currently at just this kind of juncture. The glamour of in-person gambling, and all of the bright lights associated with it, is steadily fading in favour of more convenient options. Many gamblers just want to relax and enjoy their time, not spend it surrounded by other people in a noisy casino. Some people still enjoy the in-person experience, of course, but many are finding that quiet nights in with their favourite game are more enjoyable.
If recent history is any indicator, the rise of online gambling will only continue in the near future. While it is unlikely to fully replace land-based establishments, it will likely eventually be considered the ‘normal’ way to spend a night in playing.
Another reason why online gambling is growing in popularity and prevalence has to do with safety. The COVID-19 pandemic showed the world that sometimes gathering in large crowds is a bad idea, with billions around the world confined to their homes for months. The result is a population more aware of the health risks posed by large gatherings. In fact, the pandemic was also an important driver in advancing online shopping and meal delivery options for the same reason.
Many of today’s gamblers want to play from home, where they can keep themselves safe from illness.
Finally, yet another reason why online gambling is on the rise is variety. Game selection matters and land-based casinos are at a bit of a disadvantage here. No matter how many terminals they build, brick-and-mortar establishments simply can’t offer the same variety of slots that online operators can. There are thousands of games from hundreds of developers waiting to be played by online players, but there is maybe a handful in land-based establishments due to space and money constraints.
What do you think about the recent rise in mobile gaming? Online gambling is a great choice for gamblers who prefer to relax in the comfort of their own home instead of venturing into a crowded public venue. From lounging in your pyjamas to ordering in a delicious meal before playing your favourite slots, there are many reasons why Londoners are increasingly turning to remote play for their gambling experiences. If you’re ready to give online gambling a try, there is no time like the present to find a new favourite online gaming home.