Gambling has a steep and proud history in Great Britain that dates back over 500 years. Today, it is a rich part of the culture, with more than 24 million adults gambling across the nation each year.
It has a wide and varied presence from the glitz and glamour of casino nightlife, the raucous atmosphere at the Grand National, to the terraces of the football grounds at 3pm each Saturday. But how did we get here in the first place?
The first gambling laws
In 1541 the first-ever Unlawful Games Act was introduced that did its best to stop betting in its tracks, but thankfully, it failed. By 1566 Queen Elizabeth adopted a form of gambling as she launched the first British lottery to help fund much-needed harbour repairs. There were re-editions of the Unlawful Games act in 1710, 1728, 1738, 1739, and again in 1744 with limited success. The Betting Act of 1853 made it illegal to keep a place for betting. This essentially banned the working class from betting, with the exception of horses.
Horse racing has been one of the cornerstones of the British betting industry and, at its earliest, dates back as far as the early 1600s. Still, it wasn’t until 1928 that the Racecourse Betting Act came into play and horse race betting was regulated. The mid-20s also saw the introduction of Greyhound betting, which is still a big part of British betting culture today, with millions attending meets each year.
Thankfully, the 1960s saw a revival in the gambling industry with legalisation through the Gaming Act of 1968. This legalisation spearheaded gambling and casinos as we know them today. Tweaks to the Licensing Act in 2003 and Gaming Act in 2005 put further focus on the regulation of the industry, leading to a massive rise in the popularity of gambling.
More than 150 operating casino premises in the UK and over 2,500 online gambling companies are now available. Online casinos are also a huge part of the UK gambling scene. You can find hundreds of slot games and live casino action. Just look at Amazon Slots UK as the perfect example. Full of slot games, bonuses, and gambling entertainment, and all just a click away.
Casinos, football, & racing
Every major city has its own casino, packed full of slots, blackjack and poker tables and much more. They attract the rich, famous, and working-class alike as they rub shoulders with the dream of winning that one life-changing sum of money.
At the other end of the spectrum, Britain has always been obsessed with football. Few countries have the passion and dedication to the game that we Brits have. The concourses are full every Saturday at 3pm. Up and down the country, you will find fans filling out betting slips or placing stakes on their phones for who the first scorer will be or what the correct score will be.
Whether it’s horse racing at Cheltenham or the Grand National, Manchester City or Cambridge United, the poker table playing high stakes or a £1 slot machine, gambling has become an ingrained and essential part of modern life in Great Britain.