Different countries have different perspectives as far as gambling goes. In some places, it’s illegal, in others partially legal, and then there are some geographies where this industry thrives. A good example is the United Kingdom. The UK was among the first European countries to make online gambling and betting legal. Here we will go over some statistics and facts about betting and gambling in the UK, and see how well the iGaming industry performs.

High Number of Bookmakers in the UK

Before the pandemic, the betting market was performing exceptionally. In fact, operators generated around 2.4 billion pounds in revenue in the year 2019. Even restrictions started to pop up. British gambling operators had approximately 63 million pounds as net profit, between April to September 2020. Since it was the period of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a slight decline over earlier years. According to some surveys in September 2021, 5.8% of British people participated in sports betting in just four weeks.

However, this also means the market is highly competitive, and smaller operators have difficulties staying in the game. As a result, the number of bookmaker operators in the UK correspondingly dropped compared to 2011. Luckily there are plenty of online casino sites that have a sportsbook section. This can come in handy if people are looking for different odds and more player bonuses. Unfortunately, foreign operators don’t exactly generate employment opportunities in the UK.

The Growth of Online Sports Betting in the UK

With the latest technological improvements in computer and mobile devices in recent years, it is not a surprise that the sector of online gambling has grown in many countries. The online betting market earnings in the UK reached around 204 million pounds in July 2021. It surpassed around 92 million pounds statistics from March 2019. Of course, this sudden surge in profit can be attributed to lockdowns. In April 2020, virtual sports betting peaked due to the lack of any real events.

A public survey was hosted in 2020 on online gambling participation in the UK. The statistics say that more than 25% of male respondents participated in some form of online gambling over the course of one month. Also, 20% of female respondents said the same thing. The amount of placed bets on virtual and real events started to drop to pre – COVID-19 levels in July 2021.

Additionally, this increase in activity was likely caused by boredom to some extent. After all, people didn’t have much to do at home, and there were bonuses that they could use for placing bets.

Participation in Sports Betting in the UK

The three most popular sporting events in the gambling community are soccer, dog racing, and horse racing. The majority of bets nowadays are made through online sportsbook operators.  However, there is a significant number of on-course bets, especially during big racing events. The turnover in the period between April 2019 and March 2020 was around 185 million pounds for on-course wagering only.

Once again, there was a steep drop in race betting revenue in 2020. Some sporting events were cancelled for safety regulations, or they were held without spectators, which again impacts on-course punting. Even the turnover for off-course horse racing and off-course dog racing wagering took a notable dive during the crisis. Generally speaking, almost all race events have seen a drop in overall popularity in the past decade.


To sum up, online gambling and betting performed well in the past two years, while the same cannot be said for land-based gambling. Still, there are many casino and sports wagering enthusiasts in the UK, so the market is stable. We will likely see an increase in e-Sports betting as younger generations come of age. Finally, the big driving force is the Premier League, and many iGaming businesses act as sponsors for the teams. These soccer tournaments and matches are the time when user engagement peaks, both online and offline.


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