Gambling in the United Kingdom
Gambling in the United Kingdom is regulated by the Gambling Commission on behalf of the government's Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under the Gambling Act 2005. This Act of Parliament significantly updated the UK's gambling laws, including the introduction of a new structure of protections for children and vulnerable adults, as well as bringing the burgeoning Internet gaming sector within British regulation for the first time.
Bingo and casinos
The game of Bingo was popularised in the armed forces in the Second World War and brought back to Britain after the end. The Betting and Gaming Act 1960 allowed commercial bingo halls to be set up, provided they were established as members-only clubs and had to get their take from membership fees and charges rather than as a percentage of the entry fees.
Casinos had a similar history, with requirement for licensing from the Gaming Board of Great Britain and for casinos to be members-only. The number of gaming machines in casinos was limited at 10. The Casino Club Port Talbot in Wales - believed to be Britain's first legal casino - was established in 1961 by gambling mogul George Alfred James. James opened several casino-cum-cabaret and fine dining establishments in the 1960s, including the Charlie Chester Casino and Golden Horseshoe in London and the Kingsway and Grand Casino in Southport.
The Gambling Act of 2005 paved the way for larger resort style casinos to be built, albeit in a controlled manner with one being built every few years until the Act is fully implemented. Many towns and cities bid to host one of these so-called "super casinos", which will be similar to those found in Las Vegas. On 30 January 2007 Manchester was announced as the winning bid to be the location of the first 'super-casino'. The House of Lords urged on 29 March 2007 the Government to review plans for the massive 'super-casino' in Manchester. Instead it supported plans for 16 smaller casinos, including ones in Solihull and Wolverhampton. In 2008, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said that the Government would not be proceeding with the 'super-casino' in Manchester.
Gaming machines are divided into a number of categories, mainly depending upon the stakes and payouts involved.
Gambling on sports
Sports gambling has a long history in the United Kingdom, having been controlled for many decades, and more recently relaxed. The 1960 Act legalised off-course bookmakers. Pool betting on horses is a monopoly of The Tote.
There is a large market in the United Kingdom for gambling on competitive sports at bookmakers or licensed websites, particularly for horse, greyhound racing and association football (soccer). The last of these also has an associated form of gambling known as the football pools, in which players win by correctly predicting the outcome of each week's matches.
A statute of 1698 provided that in England lotteries were by default illegal unless specifically authorised by statute. An 1934 Act legalised small lotteries, which was further liberalised in 1956 and 1976. There could be no big national lottery until the Government established one, however.
Several games are run under this brand, including Lotto and Thunderball. As with other lotteries players choose a set of numbers, say 6 from 50, with six numbers then being drawn at random. Players win cash prizes depending on how many numbers they match.
In the United Kingdom, the national lottery has so far raised several billions of pounds for Good Causes, a programme which distributes money via grants. 28% of lottery revenue goes towards the fund, along with all unclaimed prizes. Additionally, 12% goes to the state. The prize fund is 45% of revenue, with the remaining 15% going towards running costs and profits for the lottery organisers and ticket sellers.
The odds of specific combinations occurring in the United Kingdom national lottery are as follows:
|Combinations||Odds||Allocation of winnings|
|6 numbers||1 : 13,983,816
||52% of remaining prize fund|
|5 numbers and the bonus ball||1 : 2,330,636
||16% of remaining prize fund|
|5 numbers||1 : 54,201
||10% of remaining prize fund|
|4 numbers||1 : 1,032
||22% of remaining prize fund|
|3 numbers||1 : 57
|2 numbers||1 : 8
|1 number||1 : 2||No win|
In February 2011 the media tycoon Richard Desmond announced the launch of a new Health Lottery, the aim is for The Health Lottery to raise a minimum of £50 million each year for health related charities. Tickets cost £1 each and 20p in the pound goes to the charities involved.
The UK Postcode Lottery is in aid of charity, and works by using an entrant's postcode plus a unique three-digit number as their ticket number. Prizes are drawn every Thursday.
Scratchcards are a very popular form of gambling in the United Kingdom, due to their easy availability and cheap price. These are small pieces of card where an area has been covered by a substance that cannot be seen through, but can be scratched off. Under this area are concealed the items/pictures that must be 'found' in order to win.
The Gambling Commission identifies 3 types of amusement arcades
- adult gaming centres (AGCs)
- licensed family entertainment centres (FECs)
- unlicensed FECs.
In 2009/2010 the FECs made up 81% of the arcade sector in gross gambling yield.
Remote form of gambling is growing in popularity in the United Kingdom. According to the survey conducted by the Gambling Commission, as of March 2010, 10,7% of the 8,000 adults surveyed said they had participated in at least one form of remote gambling in the previous 4 weeks. In 2009 the figure was 10,5%, in 2008 – 7,2%, in 2007 – 8,8%, in 2006 – 7,2%. The major part of these gamblers was represented by those playing the National Lottery online. Upon their exclusion, the figures are 5,7%, 5,7%, 5,6% and 5,2% respectively.
All forms of online gambling are licensed by the Gambling Commission and therefore can be legally provided in the country. At the Commission's site anyone can find the details of both licensed operators and applicants for a license.
Income from gambling currently makes up a small part of the Economy of the United Kingdom.
|This section requires expansion. (June 2008)|
- Birmingham Mail: Casino bid hit by Lords vote
- "The Health Lottery". Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- "The Health Lottery || Lottery Good Causes". Retrieved 14 July 2013.
- Gambling Industry statistics 2009/2010
- Deloitte: UK betting worth £6bn, 100,000 jobs