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Gambling in UK Increased in the Last Two Years

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, gambling in the whole UK grew significantly in the past two years. The pandemic has changed the world as we know it, and the restrictive measures that came with it affected the daily habits of people around the world. The quarantine and social distancing have led to an increased number of new members of online casinos and betting sites nationwide. Let’s see. 

The Growth in the UK

Gambling was legalized in 2005, and the industry kept growing ever since. However, this growth escalated in the past few years due to Covid -19 outbreak. It is projected that the industry will grow even more in the near future, probably reaching $80 million by 2024.

Google searches related to online casinos skyrocketed in January 2020, and the data provided by the Gambling Commission state that in March 2020, there was an increase of 88% in virtual sports betting, and 53% in online poker, both compared to the same month the year before.

Research conducted by NerdWallet shows that almost two-fifths of gamblers that engage in the activity at least once a month noticed an increase in their gambling during the pandemic.

The figure is even higher for more frequent gamblers – 63% of the Brits who gamble every day notice an increase in the time spent that way.

And although the restrictions have been eased, 62% of the respondents confirmed that they are not reducing the time spent wagering.

How Did the Industry Grow so Fast?

The pandemic clearly affected the industry’s growth, but there are other factors to consider, too. One of them is the increased availability of online casinos. Accessing a betting website has never been easier – today’s players only need a computer or a mobile device and they are ready to go. 

And that leads us to the second important factor – the expansion of smartphones, tablets, and other devices. Most people carry their phones with them all the time, which gives them constant access to their favourite operators without even leaving the couch. In fact, the number of players using their phones to gamble increased by 120% from 2013 to 2020.

The Popularity of Gambling in Different Parts of the UK

Since gambling has seen a rise in the entire UK, let’s take a look at its popularity and trends throughout different regions.


The demand for gambling in the country can clearly be seen using the example of England. Namely, almost 50% of its population of around 56.29 million people have been reported to gamble. London, the capital of England, was the birthplace of the first online casino in the UK. It was a sports-themed operator launched in 1998 by William Hill.

Since sports betting is very popular in England, the players can enjoy a wide variety of games to wager on. Football is by far the most popular category in the country, followed by cricket, and tennis, while horse racing also holds an important position.


Irishmen are passionate about gambling, and sports betting is one of their favourite attractions. A growing number of sports fans hardly ever watch games without placing bets, and nowadays, most bettors do it on the go, using their mobile phones.

Online casinos have also seen a huge rise in Ireland. In fact, the demand for online casinos grows so much that new operators are constantly being launched with some of the recently launched reliable brands which can easily be found on websites like IrishLuck.


Sports betting is by far the most popular type of gambling in Scotland. According to a study from 2017, 68% of Scots place bets at least once in a while. When it comes to UK countries, Scotland is also the one with the highest rate of online sports betting across their population. 

The rise of online betting was helped by the expansion of mobile devices, like in many other parts of the world. But in Scotland, it was also lifted by the people’s incredible passion for sports itself.


The population of Wales counts 3.15 million people, and although it’s relatively small, more than half of Welsh adults have been reported to gamble. Wales was actually the first country in the UK to have a legal casino. George Alfred James opened the famous Club Port in 1961, only one year after gambling was legalized, and it was active for 50 years.

When it comes to sports betting, the Welsh also nurture a strong passion for football, just like the rest of the nation. However, the people of Wales are also known for their incredible love for rugby.


Gambling and sports betting have been favoured by the people in the UK for decades and with the recent outbreak of Covid-19, this attraction has been seen to grow even stronger. 

Now there are hundreds of online operators and establishments for users to choose from, and get some entertainment whenever and wherever they want.