Gambling has a long history in the UK many gambling games are thought to have originated from the region and a majority of the population regularly gamble wether it’s a weekly national lottery ticket or a yearly punt on the Grand National.
Although casinos aren’t nearly as prevalent as other European cities and their sizes are certainly far smaller than any vegas casino they are common in the UK, most major cities have at least 1 casino. Strict gaming laws prohibit cities having too many casinos as well as restricting their locations and size. Despite the lack of casinos in many towns and cities their is a massive availability of ‘bookies’ or ‘bookmakers’ these shops not only take sports bets they each have several FOBTs (Fixed odds betting terminals) which are basically mini electronic casinos.
Bookmakers in the UK have come under fire for the massive detrimental affect FOBTs has on it’s customers, players are able to bet up to £100 per spin on Roulette without any interference from a store worker or manager. Betting shops are also deviously located in the much poorer areas of towns or cities to attract the sort of clientele who may have gambling problems. Bookmakers are restricted to how many FOBTs they can have in one shop, to get around this many bookmakers have simply opened up more shops next to each other or down the road. Currently their is a huge campaign to implement a £2 max bet on FOBTs which around 70% of the UK population support.
Further problems with FOBTs are the rate at which you can lose money, at £100 per spin and a max payout of £500 you are able to spin at a rate of once every 20 seconds. FOBTs has a set payout of 97.3% for roulette. FOBTs are ran by a company called ballytech, you can read a statement on their RTP (return to play) investigations here.
Almost every pub in the UK has a ‘fruity’ or ‘fruit machine’, basically a much toned down version of the FOBTs with only 1 slot game to play. The RTP (return to player) is horrendous at around 78%, however it is possible to play these games with a strategy (usually) observing patters. Fruit machines have to hit a set payout % so if they don’t payout for a long time it’s entirely possible that they may be ‘due’ for a hit. More info on fruit machines here.
Horse racing is MASSIVE business in the UK with the Grand National being the biggest jump race of the year, many casual punters will have a small bet on the Grand National and may never bet on anything else for the rest of the year, this is the reason why lots of online sportsbooks like Ladbrokes don’t give out sign up bonuses during this time. Cheltenham is the most popular festival of the year, ran during march over 4 days betting companies fall over themselves offering incredible signup bonuses and enhanced odds.
Generally football is most widely bet on, the average player spends much less on football betting per week than other sports as many people have a bet while watching it at the pub etc. The most popular site to bet on football is with bet365 in the UK, they have 2,300 employees and are now one of the biggest betting companies in the world
Online gambling is big business in the UK worth around £6bn in 2012, it’s home to some of the worlds biggest gaming companies such as the incredibly successful bet365.com a site which grew from operating out of a portacabin in Stoke to generating a £330m profit in 2014. The UK currently charges no tax to players, unlike the USA for example, any income you make from gambling or poker is tax free, combined this with the high quality of life it is a big draw for poker professionals.