The popularity of online gambling activities (also known as iGaming) has increased substantially with British residents over the past ten years. Now part of a booming global industry, the UK’s iGaming market is home to leading gaming platforms and operators, with people from different demographics from Andover to Carlisle regularly taking part in real money gaming or betting activities online.
The rise of online gaming in the UK
No longer seen as the poor cousin to live casino games and poker tournaments, iGaming appeals to a wide range of players, and is taking its place beside console gaming and content streaming as a legitimate leisure activity.
According to recent statistics published by the UK Gambling Commision (UKGC), a regulatory body for real money gaming and betting in British territory, the Gross Gambling Yield in the country has grown by approximately £6 billion to £14.4 billion from 2011 to 2018, and is set to increase even more as this new decade continues to unfold.
Out of that figure, the remote gambling market (iGaming), which includes online casinos and poker, online betting and online bingo has the largest overall share of revenue at just over 40%. That’s a total revenue share of £5.3 billion for the year dating April 2018 to March 2019.
So how did what was still a brand new and niche market at the turn of the Millennium grow to be worth billions of pounds?
British players just can’t get enough
As the financial figures above suggest, British iGaming players just can’t get enough of online activities. A 2018 report by the UKGC found that a total of 33.6 million people had active accounts with online platforms that were licensed by the commission that year, a significant portion of which were held by customers in the 45 to 65 age bracket.
Whereas contemporary online gaming activities such as RPG games and multiplayer battle royales like Fortnite typically appeal to players in younger age brackets, iGaming activities are popular with adults of all ages and genders. The anonymity that comes from playing a slots game in an online room means that players who wouldn’t ordinarily feel comfortable walking into a brick and mortar casino are able to engage with and spend longer playing the game.
The same can be said for the other top lucrative verticals of online poker and online betting. In the online arena, anyone old enough to register for an account with an iGaming platform has the opportunity to develop the skill set needed to play a game like poker at their own pace. And instead of having to walk into a high street betting shop, punters can place bets on all sorts of sporting and current events from the comfort of their own home.
One of the key factors to the popularity of online casinos across the UK is the sheer variety of money saving promotional offers available. Operators including 32 Redwork with gambling directory sites like Oddschecker to run exclusive promotions that are targeted towards new players. No deposit bonuses, free spins promotions, and cashback on wagers placed are attractive enough for even the casual player to want to take advantage of.
And with local casinos and gaming halls closing down all over the country, online platforms have become more than an adequate replacement for those more traditional real money gaming activities.
Tightly regulated industry
Perhaps the most powerful contributor to the growth of online casinos and remote gambling in the UK is the fact that the industry itself is so tightly regulated. The UKGC has the power to only assign licenses to online platforms that meet its stringent regulations and strict policies for responsible gaming, financial protection and data protection.
Customers can play in a UKGC approved online casino, safe in the knowledge that the operator has implemented substantial cyber security methods, and offers player protection that covers both their personal data and the funds they deposit into their gaming accounts.
While it may have its detractors, like all gaming and entertainment industries do, there’s no denying that the UK gambling industry has the highest industry standards across the world, which is why UKGC-licensed platforms make up 65% of the global market.