The gambling industry in the United Kingdom has been on an upward curve over the past decade, and that trend looks set to continue throughout the 2020s.
With an annual gross gambling yield (GGY) of more than £14 billion, it is easy to see why an increasing number of operators have been eager to jump on the bandwagon.
Advancements in technology have undoubtedly played a massive role in the gambling boom, with online gambling accounting for the largest portion of the GGY at around £5.3bn.
As with any thriving sector, the current landscape in UK gambling looks very different from what passed for the norm a decade ago.
Read on as we take a closer look at some of the biggest trends from the UK retail gambling sector over the past ten years.
Tech has transformed online casinos and bingo sites, allowing the operators to introduce numerous exciting innovations over the past few years.
Game combinations have become increasingly popular, a point highlighted by the emergence of the Slingo game on the Wink Bingo website.
Slingo’s history dates back to New Jersey in the 1990s, but it has since blossomed into a game that is played by more than 55 million people across the world.
It merges the rapid-fire nature of 75-Ball Bingo with the excitement of slot machines to provide players with a thrilling gameplay experience.
Slingo is not the only game combination to make its mark on the UK gambling scene, with the likes of Flash Fives and Bingo Roulette also coming to the fore in recent times.
Flash Fives combines bingo and cards to form an action-packed game that has the potential to generate massive jackpot payouts.
Bingo Roulette follows a similar route, blending bingo with roulette to create another fast-paced game that has proved to be hugely popular.
It was not too long ago that sports betting in the UK felt restricted, with just a handful of markets available on events across the sporting spectrum.
However, the last decade has seen radical changes as tech has allowed gambling firms to become far more innovative with their websites.
One of the most exciting developments has been the explosion of live betting, with every major operator now offering thousands of in-play opportunities every day.
Punters were once limited to wagering before an event started, meaning that they were unable to react to how things were progressing.
Popular live markets such as next goalscorer or the next player to be carded didn’t exist, leaving punters stuck with just their initial bet.
Improvements in tech and connectivity mean that bookies can update online odds in real-time, providing them with greater scope to offer in-play markets.
Millions of punters now use live betting to enhance their enjoyment of gambling, adding in another dimension to watching live sports.
The use of smartphones for gambling purposes significantly increased towards the end of the last decade as mobile tech continued to improve.
Numerous studies showed that more than half of the people who gambled had used a mobile device to access online casino or sports betting sites.
The ability to wager no matter wherever you are located is a convenience that is now expected of gambling operators across the industry.
High-speed wireless connectivity has contributed massively to the rise of mobile gambling, making it easy for people to access their favourite sites.
All the leading firms have optimised their sites to work on mobile, with many creating standalone casino or betting apps that can be downloaded.
Some operators took a mobile-first approach with their sites, tasking developers to focus on design elements that were clearly aimed at smartphone users.
With experts forecasting that daily smartphone usage will increase to around four hours per person during 2021, the trend towards mobile gambling is sure to continue.
Another major trend seen in the UK gambling sector over the past decade has been the increase in the number of payment options available.
Online sports betting and casino gaming is only possible people can fund their accounts, and operators have attempted to make this as easy as possible.
Digital e-Wallets have become the ‘go-to’ payment method for many bettors, with the added security offered by the likes of PayPal, Neteller and Skrill proving to be popular.
Debit and credit cards remained popular, while virtual credit cards also started to become more prevalent towards the end of the decade.
However, the last few years saw cryptocurrency emerge as a genuine option for gamblers, with many operators adding them as a payment method on their sites.
Cryptocurrency payments are encrypted using blockchain technology, giving them a greater level of security than other traditional payment methods.
The anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies made them an attractive proposition for bettors in the UK, while operators benefited from the reduction in operating costs afforded by them.
Football and horse racing have historically been the most popular sports with UK punters, and they still generate the largest revenues.
However, the last decade saw numerous other sports grab a piece of the action as gambling firms widened the scope of their operations.
Made-for-television sports such as snooker and darts became increasingly popular with punters, while cricket and tennis also secured a healthy slice of the pie.
Betting on major North American sports increased as broadcast deals with the likes of Sky Sports brought the NFL and NBA into homes across the UK.
Niche genres such as eSports also started to gain traction in the gambling sector towards the end of the 2010s as operators began to latch onto its growing popularity.
Many leading brands now offer odds on eSports leagues and competitions such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, League of Legends and Dota 2 throughout the year.
Some gambling firms also started to forge link-ups with the eSports sector, suggesting that this is another trend that is here to stay.