When it Comes to Online Wagering, the UK has a Lot to Work With

Published April 1, 2017 by Lee R

When it Comes to Online Wagering, the UK has a Lot to Work With

How sustainable is the UK market and why?

The UK has emerged as a model of effective regulation, but what makes it so?


First off, you have to have strong demand: data from April 2015 to March 2016 indicates that of the £13bn spent on all gambling in the UK, £4.5bn (33%) was wagered online. 


Interestingly, this figure overshadowed the total spent on the National Lottery by more than £1bn, despite the fact that the National Lottery possesses far more regular participants than those who play at online casinos and betting.


The first reason for the increase in individual investment among online casinos is the healthy competition which passes the benefits back to the players, with numerous operators offering generous bonuses and creative jackpots across casino as well as sports betting platforms to UK players.

Market Share

Online casinos are by far the most popular form of online play, representing £2.6bn of UK online player expenditure.

Slots placed second with £1.8bn, with sports betting third at £1.6bn, with most sites offering wagers on everything from live sports matches, to roulette, horse racing and virtual sports, so that players can within one site find all existing gambling options.


Physical sports books and casinos are mainly used by older clientele, with the online-conditioned younger generation set to dominate the future market. The draw to play online will be undoubtedly be further strengthened by emerging technology (VR), which will offer innovative ways to replicate the live land-based casino experience at home.


UKGC player survey data for 2016 shows that mobile gambling had risen from 33% of respondents in 2015 to 43% in 2016. That healthy jump is a key driver of online play and appeal, for a country whose market size is large and offerings diverse.    


As far as potential barriers to growth such as stigma or addiction, the overall minimal problem gambling rate of 5.5% in the UK is a reflection on the fact that the spectre of stigma impacting growth is just not a factor, which goes for the rest of Europe as well. 


The tradition of gambling as a leisure activity originally led to the proliferation of gambling and betting shops in the UK, with online play being embraced by emerging generations of gamblers with no visible threats from addiction or social stigma.

In Summation

As the UK’s largest market, the conversion to online play represents a large demographic engaging in behaviour that is part of a worldwide trend: the use of mobile devices for online play, characterised by multiple options and healthy competition.

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