According to the Gambling Commission reports, in March 2020, virtual sports betting increased by 88% and online poker by 53% in the UK compared to the results in March 2019. NerdWallet’s research has revealed that nearly two-fifths of gamblers who bet at least once monthly noticed their increased gambling activity during the pandemic. And due to the pandemic, projections for the gambling industry in the near future are on the rise, with an estimated $80 million worth by 2024.
The NerdWallet study has stated that 63% of daily gamblers from the UK have noticed an increase in their gambling time than usual. Even with the COVID-19 related restrictions eased, 62% of study participants said they did not reduce the time spent betting. However, thanks to responsible gambling options that most wagering sites have, people can limit their betting habits to normal levels
The main culprits for the rapid expansion of the gambling industry during the pandemic can be attributed to two factors. One of them is that accessing a betting site is incredibly easy, as it is readily available on all internet-connected devices.
The second factor is that people can access online casinos and sports betting sites via smartphone when smartphones have become commonplace. The number of people with mobile phones got bigger by 120% in 2020, compared to their numbers in 2013.
England as a country had nearly 50% of its population of 56.29 million people gambling. London itself was a place of origin to the first UK online casino. The sports operator William Hill launched in 1998. To this date, sports wagering is enjoyed the most in England, with football being the most popular sport to bet on, followed by cricket, tennis, and horse racing.
In Ireland, online casinos and sports betting sites have expanded significantly. New operators are steadily being opened due to the sheer demand. People of Ireland especially tend to combine watching sports and betting, usually via their smartphones.
Scotland has a strong tendency for sports wagering, with 68% of its population betting semi-regularly, according to the 2017 study. This country has one of the highest rates of sports betting in the UK.
Over 50% of the Welsh population of 3.15 million people are gambling, with sports betting and football and rugby, in particular, taking the lead. Wales had the first casino opened in the UK, back in 1961 with Club Port, just one year after gambling was legalized.