Casinos have been around a long time, testament to their enduring popularity as places of entertainment. With the dawn of the internet age, gambling has gone virtual, a change that players have responded to extremely well, judging by the plethora of different online casinos available today. Today we ask the question – how has online gambling changed in the UK market?
Gambling in the UK
There is a long history of gambling in the United Kingdom and it continues to be a popular pastime even today – evidence of this is easy to see in the many betting outlets dotted around British high streets. So how has a move towards online gambling changed the landscape of this mode of entertainment?
Everyone can understand the perks that remote gaming offers. When you play online, there is no need to make your way to a land-based casino, keeping the practical costs of playing down. Players can spin the reels or enjoy a game of blackjack at any time of the day or night. But what really speaks to the success of gaming in the UK are the numbers.
A surge in popularity
According to data published by the UK Gambling Commission, the industry has seen an uptick in interest since 2008 – the number of people participating in remote gaming went from 9.7% of the adult population in 2008 to 15.9% in 2014. Similarly, the number of casinos licensed with the UKGC has risen steadily, to a current total of 176 regulated un the Gambling Act 2014.
Casino operators have responded to the rise in interest (and in competition) by creating bespoke applications that make their products available to a larger segment of the player population. This also echoes another important trend – mobile devices have replaced the desktop computer as the main way people access the internet. A trend that started in 2013 has revealed that smartphones and tablets have overtaken the historically dominant desktop computer as the most popular means of access. It stands to reason that casinos will want to capitalize on this interest in mobile products too.
With regards to the age of players, UKGC data shows that people over 55 are much more likely to play the National Lottery or participate in bets on horse or dog races. Still, a tenth of the UK’s over-55s are active remote gamers, up from 4.6% in 2008. The 18-34 and 35-54 age groups tend to display similar gaming patterns, with both groups growing significantly since 2014.
A new favourite
While live casino and table games are by no means forgotten, today’s remote casino player is more likely to enjoy slot games – the UKGC estimates that some £532.5M in revenue is created by slot games, almost two-thirds of the total spent in remote UK casinos.
This trend can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Players might prefer slots because they require less skill and experience than more complex games like poker or blackjack. The RTP is usually higher for online slots than it is in land-based casinos. These reasons can all contribute to the rising popularity of online slots.
The UKGC, in its last annual report (2014-2015), revealed that the remote gaming industry generated some £3 billion per annum and the indications point to a further increase by the time the next report is issued in 2017. That’s a significant cash injection to the British economy.
Estimates also suggest that this wealth is not just being deposited into the sector but is staying there too – some £465M was held in 25 million user accounts between November 2014 and March 2015. This averages out to about £18 per account and with growing membership numbers, that figure is sure to rise concurrently.
UK online casinos
With almost 200 licensed remote casinos, there are plenty to choose from if you’re after a UK-licensed outfit. The following are just a few of the many quality casinos you can play at with a UKGC license.
Casumo – this heavyweight of a casino offers a smooth gaming experience and plenty of titles to choose from. New players can expect a welcome bonus that includes €1200 in bonus cash and 180 free spins. Oh, and players in the select countries also get 20 no deposit spins when they sign up.
Jetbull – sign up to play at this casino to enjoy a 100% deposit bonus up to £200 plus 100 free spins that can be used on any NetEnt slot of your choice.
CasinoCruise – get 20 no deposit spins on Starburst when you sign up to play at CasinoCruise. Don’t forget to check out their awesome promotions, the biggest of which will see one winner and their guest take a holiday of a lifetime.