Betting on sports in the UK has been popular for a long time with regulations to keep what has grown into a multi-million pound industry in check. There has been a recent relaxing of the laws however, that has seen gambling take huge strides into wider society with more people becoming involved in betting.
More freedom to bet
Even just 20 years ago if you wanted to place a sports bet in the UK you would have had to go to a high street bookmakers. These started opening in the early 1960s giving punters a chance to make a wager somewhere other than the racetrack. The regulations were still fairly strict – and heavily enforced – which gave betting a different reputation than it has today.
But with the easing of the regulations, more and more high street bookies opened and with the rise in the use of the internet in the late 1990s and early 2000s, there has been a huge surge in popularity and involvement. Now there are far more opportunities to bet on sports and far more bets to choose from. As long as you are 18 years or older you are able to place a sports bet.
Plenty of choice
Although there are not as many bookmakers on the high streets of the UK these days – at the height of their popularity there were about 15,000 – it is highly likely that even the smallest town will have a bookmaker shop. But the boom in gambling participation has been online and that is where most of the money comes from these days.
Unlike their high street equivalents, online betting sites require their customers to open an account to be able to place a bet. This is largely to ensure the security of the gambling transactions that are happening online. Signing up for one of these accounts is really easy and quick to do – and that has meant that it has become a major part of the industry, with new customers joining new sites every day.
The other reason why betting has become more popular due to the rise in online betting sites, is that the actual action of placing a bet has become much easier and less shrouded with terminology. Gambling still has its own distinct language, but whereas potential punters may have been put off placing a bet in an unwelcoming high street shop, the whole process is explained in a very approachable fashion on just about any online betting site out there.
Only getting bigger
With the industry’s traditional position in UK society – coupled with the increasing visibility of the bookmakers in the media, sports and life in general – the rise in gambling participation by the public sees no end soon. With online bookmakers sponsoring the sports teams they are making their money off they are a constant presence, making betting on sports more accessible and easier for anyone who has an internet connection – either in the home or work, or on their smartphone.