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The most popular things people bet on in the UK

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Gambling is incredibly popular in the UK. Join us as we dig into the stats and history to see what punters love to play.


Anyone who watches the Discovery Channel knows that the United Kingdom has a long and fascinating history. What most do not realise, however, is how deeply betting and gambling are ingrained in the British culture.

Before online gambling in the UK was conceptualised, or even before licensed land-based casinos were common, Britons were betting on horse races. The earliest recorded staked horse racing event occurred at Chester, now the home of the Chester Racecourse, in 1539.

Fast forward to today, and the United Kingdom is one of the leading gambling jurisdictions in the world. The UK Gambling Commission oversees the country’s robust regulatory framework, which coordinates all legal online casinos, land-based casinos, bingo, poker, and sports betting.

The latest statistics by the UK government show that in 2022 British Gross Gambling Revenue (GGR) is more than £1 billion per quarter. With this staggering value in mind, we thought it would be entertaining to delve into the things Brits like to bet on.

The National Lottery is close to home

As with most lotteries, the UK National Lottery is owned and operated by the government. First established in 1994, the lottery is still one of the country's most popular games of chance.

With a jackpot of £3,600,000 and ticket prices of only £1.50 per line, it is no surprise that up to 45 million tickets are purchased for each lucky draw.

A large portion of the lottery revenue generated by ticket sales is used to fund community projects and other good causes. To date, more than 670,000 projects have received support to the value of £46 billion!

Sports betting takes centre stage

With their love for horse racing, sports betting in the United Kingdom has exploded, with more than a thousand betting shops currently in existence.

According to a 2020 census, more than 24 million adults in the UK gamble, the vast majority of whom claim to enjoy betting on their local sports teams and even take action on international football and rugby matches.

In addition to offering action on sporting events, bookmakers offer odds on unusual events. These can include predicting who will win the following Eurovision content, what name a celebrity will choose for their next child and even what colour tie the Prime Minister will wear to a function.

Games of chance are always a winner

Local punters love the accessibility, game variety and bonus offers available at online casinos. Despite online slots dominating most regulated gambling markets, table games like Blackjack and Roulette are still prevalent in the British Isles.

Despite what you might expect, play is not limited only to the more traditional European roulette. Players spend much of their time playing Live Lightning Roulette, Mini Roulette, and American roulette!

Most of their casino gambling also occurs on mobile rather than desktop pcs or laptops. This usage has been attributed to the time spent travelling on trains to and from work.

Poker takes skill to play it well

Blackjack is not the only card game that has captured the imagination of Britain’s gambling population. According to the January to June 2022 poker stats, local card sharks generated nearly £40 million in GGR.

What is most impressive is that a small pool of players generates this revenue. The average monthly poker player base for the same period is just over 240,000. While this may sound substantial, it is worth noting that around 3.5 million punters play slots each month and more than 5 million place sports bets.

eSports shine bright in the UK

A rising star in the UK gambling market is eSports. The mainstream acceptance of live streamed competitive gaming and the prize pools accompanying it cause betting on these events to skyrocket. As demand for virtual sports increases, bookmakers have added new events.

These events include odds on team-based games like Dota and League of Legends and single-player video games like Street Fighter.

One of the most popular esports to bet on is FIFA, which closely parallels the British obsession with local and international football.

Discover a new betting niche

If you enjoyed learning more about the fantastic options available to betting and gambling fans, it might be time to expand your horizons. We encourage you to read up on the gambling options we have available for you right here at CasinoWow.

We created a handy list of 5 exciting and strange things you can bet on, which will help you find new and entertaining bets to place. Who knows, you might find that adding cheese rolling wagers to your bet slip is just what you needed to usher in a few tasty wins.

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