Gambling has long been a popular pastime for people in the UK. Once confined to betting shops, casinos and bingo halls, it is now widely available online to anyone with access to a smartphone, tablet or PC. Online casino gambling in particular has skyrocketed in recent years, with increasing popularity being driven by a wide variety of factors, including technological advancements, range of choice and lifestyle choices.
On the majority of casino sites, you’ll find games including baccarat, blackjack and roulette. And on the best casino websites, you’ll find these games which feature live versions where players can communicate with the dealer in real time and play as they would in a physical venue, which is what makes this live casino elite level.
So just how popular is gambling these days?
The UK gambling industry as a whole is worth around £14.3 billion and is continuing to grow. The online casino sector makes up a significant proportion of this, with a gross gambling yield of around £3,190 million. While another popular gambling type is non-remote betting, which accounts for around £2,821 million.
Not every sector in the UK gambling market is seeing substantial growth however. Around the country, arcade venues are beginning to close. There has been a 32% decrease in the number of arcade premises over the last 8 years. In general, gambling in physical venues has declined as more and more people are choosing gambling online.
But what do online casinos offer that land-based venues cannot?
Accessibility and convenience
One of the biggest benefits to playing casino games online is just how easy it is to find and play them. In the UK, at least 79% of the adult population own a smartphone and at least 72% of them have access to a fast 4G network. This figure differs somewhat between different age groups, with it being reported that up to 100% of those aged 18 to 24 year olds have access to the internet, while 40% of those over 65 years old use smartphones too.
The average person uses their smartphone for over 2 hours and 30 minutes per day. The majority of this time is split between using social media apps, surfing the web and gaming. With their smartphone at hand, casino game players can play a quick game of poker, blackjack or roulette while on the bus to work, waiting in line for a coffee or wherever they may be. While visiting a physical casino venue takes time and planning, playing games on your phone is an activity that can fit around the rest of your day.
Range of casino game choices
Another reason for online casinos popularity in comparison to traditional venues is the sheer amount of choice in games, both within individual sites and across the internet as a whole. Most casino websites have a large selection of slot games with different themes and vibrant graphics. They also have different variants of games, such as American or European roulette. In physical casinos, such variety is difficult to achieve due to space and having larger overheads to cover.
Also, there is no real limit to the amount of online casinos you can sign up to play on.
This means you can enjoy a game of slots on one site before hopping over to the next one, just in time for your favourite live casino poker game. In fact, the average online casino player holds accounts on three different sites. Each casino site will also have different bonus offers and welcome incentives for players, with the online industry being so competitive, casinos are fighting for new sign ups and customer loyalty.
Security and anonymity
Many of the top online casinos have invested heavily in keeping customers private data safe. This includes payment details, names, address and contact information. If they fail to do so they are held accountable and can receive significant financial penalties. Therefore, there is a big emphasis on cybersecurity and trustworthiness on these sites.
On most online casinos there are a variety of ways customers can manage transactions for wagering and collecting winnings. They integrate popular payment services such as PayPal, Skrill and Neteller, as well as accepting bank transfer, visa, MasterCard or Apple Pay. Some casino websites even accept cryptocurrency payments. Cryptocurrency is perfect for those wishing to make safe and truly anonymous transactions, something which traditional venues cannot compete with.
Most sites also have 24 hour customer service lines and online chatbots to handle customer queries and concerns. They operate through the day and night, while most traditional casinos only operate set hours.
Players can even play games on online casinos based in other countries and pay in currencies of their choosing. This means there are so many more games options than just those created in the UK.
Traditional land-based casino venues still make the perfect destination for a night out or for celebrating a special occasion with friends. Getting dressed up, socialising and incorporating a night at the casino with drinks and maybe food, is all part of the fun. However, online casinos now offer convenient, secure gaming experiences and through offering options such as live casino games they are able to recreate the fun and thrill of real casinos. As technology becomes more accessible and the range of online games improves even further, these sites are only set to continue growing in popularity at an impressive rate for years to come.