While it’s not easy to pin down an exact figure of how many people like to gamble, various surveys have been conducted which conclude that almost 50% of British citizens gamble at least once a month. Of those, slightly more than half are men, with this gender gap showing consistently over the years. As for the sector itself, for the last two years the UK’s gambling industry has declared a Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) of more than £14 billion. Of that, £5.7 billion has come from the remote gambling sector – covering online betting, bingo, and casino games – and £2 billion from the National Lottery.
All these numbers point to one thing: the UK’s gambling industry is booming, experiencing year on year growth that refuses to slow down. But don’t expect to see queues outside your local casino or bingo hall; the majority of gambling is now done online. Online casinos and online betting sites are heavily regulated in the UK, meaning that only the highest quality operators are actually given a license. This is why the UK has the reputation as one of the world’s leading online gambling industries.
Online gambling is altogether more convenient than traditional forms, as games can be played from home. The development of superfast broadband a mobile speed means that pretty much everyone has access to them, and because they don’t operate business hours, you can fit a few games around whatever else is part of your day. Some providers choose to specialise and offer one specific type of game, for example 888 Poker hosts only poker game, albeit in six different styles such as Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha and 7 Card Stud.
There are lots of different ways to gamble which are available to UK citizens, and you might be surprised to find out which one is the UK’s favourite game. Let’s take a look at the options and see how popular each one is.
- The UK’s favourite way to gamble is the National Lottery. Although participation figures slumped slightly when the price of the ticket doubled, they have held steady ever since. Part of the reason why lotto is so popular is because many people don’t associate it with the negative aspects of gambling. Because you buy one ticket at a time, you’re unlikely to spiral into a losing streak or lose track of how much money you’re spending. And because the company donates billions to good causes every year, many people see this as a charitable donation, rather than a game of chance. It also doesn’t involve any skill, so is the most accessible game out there.
- Second on the list is sports betting. This covers wagering on every type of sporting event, but not fantasy sports or pools. Many people find that their enjoyment of sport is enhanced when they have something financial to gain from it. Sport betting has evolved to now include in-game betting, where the odds change as events unfold, and people can make impulse bets from their armchairs while watching a match. Unlike lottery games, sports betting requires a good deal of knowledge, especially if you want to win consistently, but you also have more influence over outcomes: while you can’t predict a football score, you can study form and past results and make a decent prediction on who the winning team will be. The most popular sport to place bets on is football, with horse racing coming a close second.
- Out of all the online casino games, online slots are the country’s favourite. Again, they are easy to play and don’t require you to know any complicated rules or play with any skill. The amount you bet is set too, so keeping tabs on your spending is straightforward. Because you play alone, you won’t be goaded by other players into betting outside your comfort zone, and some slots start with bets as little as 1p.
The second most popular casino game is roulette. The perfect blend of simple to play, whilst also rewarding those who know the maths behind the betting odds. Playing groups of numbers rather than individuals, and placing multiple, overlapping bets may not guarantee you a win every time, but when you do get it right, the combinations should see you bring home a bigger reward.
Poker is the UK’s favourite casino card game, appealing to a group of gamblers with the dedication to perfect their game. A huge amount of money moves through online poker sites even though the number of actual players is smaller than other games.
- A surprise hit amongst the online games has been bingo. Online bingo has shed the image of pensioners huddled over cards in drafty halls and become a game popular amongst the under 35s, especially women. Online bingo has managed to retain the social element of the game that made it so popular in the 1960s, utilising chat rooms to let players communicate. It’s one of the online games where it is the easiest to arrange to meet up with friends remotely – you simple agree which game to play and you can chat away while the numbers are called.
This isn’t an exhaustive list, there are plenty more gambling games available, both online and at land-based venues. But it’s clear that lottery games and scratch cards are still the nations favourites, although after the online boom, casino games are beginning to catch up.