Why is the UK the Largest Online Gambling Market in the World?

We find out why the UK has the largest gambling market per capita
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Did you know that the UK is the largest online gambling market in the world? Bigger even than the far more populous United States? Well, it’s a fact – see the Statista chart below. And this led us to think about why the relatively small UK online gambling industry punches well above its weight. So, today, we’ll have a look at why the UK pulls in many more billions than other regulated gambling markets around the world. But, first, let’s drink in those numbers…

Charting the Global Online Gambling Market

The latest information we have comes from 2021. This is when the UK Guardian newspaper and H2 Gambling Capital firm revealed a chart showing that UK gamblers wagered far more than other countries. In the analysis, the UK market saw a massive £9.07 billion wagered in a single year. Here’s how the UK stacks up against other countries (converted into US Dollars):

Infographic: The Largest Online Gambling Markets | Statista You can find more infographics at Statista. Below, we will look at the reasons why the UK online casino and sports betting markets outstrip the money spent in populous countries such as the US, France and Germany…

The UK Gambling Act 2005 Was Successful

Back in the days of Tony Blair, New Labour ripped up the rule book for the online gambling sector. Before the passing of the Gambling Act 2005, the rules mainly dealt with horse racing tracks, betting shops and the National Lottery. However, the Gambling Act brought the regulated UK market in line with modern online casinos and sports betting sites. The UK’s ability to regulate online gambling successfully created the platform for market growth.

Regulating Online Gambling Protects Players

The main thing the Gambling Act 2005 introduced was the UK Gambling Commission. The UKGC was given the task of regulating online gambling, giving licenses to safe online casinos and sports betting sites and the ability to jail, fine or suspend those not following the rules. These rules included protecting vulnerable players at every step – including those under the age of 18 and those susceptible to gambling addiction. This made online gambling safer for everyone.

Competitive Landscape for UK Betting Sites

With proper rules in place, the UK’s online gambling market flourished. More and more gambling sites picked up the coveted UKGC license and the market size grew exponentially. While the major players in the United States, France and Germany were hamstrung by ill-fitting rules and grey market economics. Whereas, UK punters suddenly had much more choice in terms of where they chose to spend their money. Which they did in huge numbers.

The Range of Betting Options for UK Players

Another result of so much competition, the race was on to create new casino games. We saw the rise of live casinos, for example. And virtual games, hybrids like Slingo (slots and bingo) and other online games like crash gambling took off. In the sports betting segment, accas, cashout and in-play betting options increased the number of ways in which UK gamblers could create bets. Online bingo also brought more females into a previously male-dominated space.

Online Gambling During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lastly, with the UK in full lockdown a few times during the COVID-19 pandemic, the online gambling market growth continued to trend upwards. With casino establishments and sports betting shops closed for weeks at a time, UK gamblers took to betting online instead. Not that the stats show an increase in the number of gamblers during that time. However, those already partial to online wagers gradually ramped up their gambling spend during that time.

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Samantha Davies
Samantha Davies
Senior Editor
6 Articles
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With more than 300 player accounts at various online casinos under her sleeve, there is no other person than Samantha who knows more about the different online casinos in New Zealand. She is our expert casino reviewer and works as a Senior Editor.

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