It comes as no surprise that the United Kingdom leads the way as one of the most developed gambling markets in the world. With all-encompassing legislation supporting regulated gambling activity across the board, the UK serves as a beacon to many other nations currently crafting frameworks for legal online gambling activity. Statistics portal, Statista compiled an extensive review of the gambling industry in the United Kingdom, with indications that the total gross gambling yield grew from £8.4 billion in 2011 to £14.4 billion in 2018.
In 2019, the average number of gaming machines in the UK was 179,556, and the proportion of legal-age players who gamble weekly stood at 32%. Betting in the UK is a big business, with 8320 betting premises spread across the country, 50,064 employees in the betting sector, and the average age of legal-age players between 45-64 years old. From an online gambling perspective, Britain boasts 36.6 million online customer accounts at regulated companies in the UK.
The GBGC provides a regulatory framework for responsible gaming advocacy
Of all the gambling activities currently enjoying strong growth trends, sports betting, bingo, and online casino remain at the forefront. In the UK, the first online casino opened its virtual doors 3 decades ago, and in the years since, online casinos have enjoyed surging levels of popularity. Thanks to the efforts of responsible gaming advocacy, and fully comprehensive legal frameworks with the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), regulated online gambling has grown in leaps and bounds.
The reputation of the UKGC is held in high regard across the online gaming world, with scores of licensed online gaming operators now under its broad umbrella. The Gambling Commission was established under the terms of the Gambling Act of 2005, with the objective of overseeing commercial gambling activity in Britain. To this end, the Great Britain Gambling Commission is tasked with protecting minors and vulnerable individuals from being exploited through gambling activity, preventing crimes and money-laundering, and ensuring the safety, security, and integrity of gambling in the UK.
Players in the UK must meet with stringent requirements vis-a-vis minimum legal gambling age and geo-location-based criteria. Additionally, UK gambling sites must prominently display their UKGC licensing and regulation, in addition to AML and KYC policies for promoting safe, secure, and legal gambling in the UK. This serves as an important point of departure for players in the UK. Regulated gambling activity is but one of many check marks to consider. Players can get a good idea of which online casinos are highly rated by fellow players by visiting online gaming aggregator platforms where online casino reviews are readily available to the public.
Additionally, players can recognise high-quality casinos from mediocre casinos by dint of the platforms that are used. For example, software providers like Microgaming, Playtech, NetEnt, Play’N GO, eZUGI, Yggdrasil Gaming, RTG, and Betsoft Gaming are among a handful of exceptional gaming platforms offering players access to the hottest games and the biggest jackpots. Nowadays, many UK online casinos combine proprietary software with software from other leading providers. This approach – the multivendor approach – ensures that players have access to tremendous variety, exceptional quality, and large progressive jackpot networks.
Bonuses and promotional offers
Online casino players are encouraged to carefully assess each online casino on its merits vis-a-vis bonuses and promotional offers. The range of promotional offers that are currently available to players spans the full spectrum, including no deposit bonuses, new player bonuses, free spins, multi-deposit bonuses, payment processor bonuses, limited time offers, daily deals, et cetera. These enticements are designed to encourage players to register at an online casino and play for real money. Given the intense competition among regulated online casinos, promotional offers are one of a handful of options used to differentiate between operators.
As with all promotional offers, players are encouraged to carefully read the terms and conditions (T&C) to ensure compliance with player requirements before signing up for an offer. Oftentimes, these promotional offers are exclusive, meaning that players cannot simultaneously apply for multiple promotions. Once the playthrough requirements have been met, players can withdraw any winnings generated through the bonus. Leading online casinos offer a variety of options to players, notably demo play and real money mode. Demo play allows players to practice for free, no payment needed, direct off their browser using Flash player functionality, and HTML 5. Some online casinos in the UK require players to register their information first, before accessing demo play.
These are but a few of the tips and tricks that first-time online casino players should be aware of when registering at a UK online casino. Given the sheer variety of online casino options available, it is necessary to conduct a little legwork to ensure the best possible fit between player expectations and online casino offerings.