How the UK Built such a Strong Gambling Industry

The UK gambling industry is one of the strongest in the world, which is no mean feat when you consider the relative sizes of the other top five countries: China, the US, Australia and Canada.

This also takes into account all land-based and online activities, including bingo, lotteries, fixed odds betting terminals, sports betting and casinos. Last year the UK gambling industry declared a gross gambling yield of £14.2 billion, and 40% of that comes from the remote gambling sector – online casinos and betting sites.

While all countries have had their problems with gambling in the past, the UK started to build a positive relationship with the industry much earlier than others. Bingo was the most popular pastime among young people in the 1950s and 1960s, and sports betting has been legal for over 60 years– something in which the US is only just beginning to bring into law for some states. By legalising gambling activities early, the UK were able to implement regulations to keep a firm grip on how the industry operated.

Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations How the UK Built such a Strong Gambling Industry

Casino operators have to comply with a strict set of rules.

The UK gambling industry is policed by the Gambling Commission (UKGC), a government department responsible for updating legislation, issuing licensesand moderating the operation of licensed businesses. Everything operates under the guidance of the 2005 Gambling Act, which was the first overhaul of legislations since 1845.

The act was considered quite innovative at the time, as it explicitly included legislation for online casinos. This showed the UK’s recognition that online gambling wouldn’t be covered under the same rules as land-based operators.

The aim of the Gambling Act was to ensure that casinos and gambling providers operated in a way that was fair and responsible to their customers. This means that casinos have a duty of care to ensure that underage players aren’t able to access their games, and to ensure that players who find gambling difficult to regulate are able to access tools to help them stay on top of their bets.

A Good Reputation

By making sure there were regulations in place to protect players, the UKGC created a thriving marketplace where consumers had absolute trust in those providing the games. Just like people can purchase clothes, knowing the shop will honour a refund if they change their mind, players know they can contest issues with casinos, request withdrawals and refunds of deposits, and the law is on their side.

Having this trust in the industry has been a major factor in establishing the UK gambling industry as a major global player.

This has been even more important with the move to online gambling. With so many online casinos nowadays,it can be hard to know which one to play at. But seeing an operator is licensed by the UKGC gives players confidence that it’s a reputable site.

888 Casino is a great example of an online casino site that is well-regulated while still offering players a great range of games. You can set betting limits and game time reminders to help control your gambling. Then, play thousands of games, including action-packed slots, super roulette and online blackjack, knowing full well your details are safe and secure.

The Success of Online Gambling

Online casinos have been around for nearly 25 years, but they didn’t really experience a spike in popularity until the arrival of high-speed broadband. This allowed the sites to offer better quality games and give players a more exciting experience.

While the games hosted online are the same as land-based casino games, how players go about accessing them is completely different. In a land-based casino,your ID can be checked, and card payments require a PIN, signature or fingerprint security check. Online, it is easier to pretend to be someone else – especially when needing to appear older – and using online payment methods doesn’t need the same security verification.

But the regulations in the UK mean that all licensed online casino operatorsmust ensure that their players identities are properly verified and payment methods must be in the same name.This added security has given players the confidence to use online casinos, which benefits the casinos by increasing their opportunities to make profit.

Online casinos aren’t limited by physical space, so they are able to offer a much wider variety of games than their bricks-and-mortar counterparts. This means popular games are available in many different versions, and tables offer a range of betting limits. This is great for players wanting to try out new games, as they can play at dedicated beginner tables and for pennies.

Beware Unregulated Operators

Not only is the UK gambling market one of the most profitable, but it’s also one of the most regulated – two things which are not mutually exclusive. But this can provide a bit of a shock to UK players when they travel to other countries to play. Unregulated casinos and websites are not as safe as regulated ones – there is no protection from scam providers and the games may not be fairly organised, meaning you’re more likely than normal to lose your bankroll.

Unregulated online casinos can be as dangerous as back-alley gambling rooms. You’ve no idea who is running the site, where your money is going, and if they’ll even honour your bets if they prove to be winners. The best option all round is to stick to gambling in regulated markets and always use licensed providers where possible.


The UKGC created the perfect conditions for a gambling market to thrive, building trust in the industry and keeping competition for licenses tough. Having access to the UK gambling market almost ensures businesses will turn a handsome profit, so new casinos are willing to jump through the many hoops to be allowed to trade. This also benefits the players as it means they only have the best quality sites and games to choose from.

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