The Growth in the Casino Gaming Market in the UK

Evidence from the very earliest civilisations shows that there have always been people that enjoy the excitement of games of chance. All over the world, societies throughout the ages have come up with games to play and ways to win money while playing or watching them.

The people of Ancient Mesopotamia, the Roman Empire, Ancient Greece, and Elizabethan England all enjoyed gaming in one form or another, and the first casino was opened in Venice in 1638. ‘Il Ridotto’ was a favourite haunt of the upper classes, and their enthusiasm for gaming was shared throughout Europe as the games they played spread far and wide.

The first legal casino in the UK wasn’t opened until 1961 when the Casino Club was founded in Port Talbot in Wales in the wake of changes to the gambling laws in the UK. Further changes to the gaming act in 2005 paved the way for even more casinos to be opened, allowing games enthusiasts to experience the excitement of classic casino games such as:

  • Roulette
  • Craps
  • Baccarat
  • Poker
  • Blackjack
  • Slots

The popularity of these games continued to grow as more and more casinos opened and they were at the forefront of adopting technology that makes gaming more fun. Many casinos introduced video poker as early as the 1970s and the addition of slots to casino floors was another technological addition.

The rise of online gaming

As the internet became more widespread and more and more games became available online, casino games were among the first to be digitised. Sites were launched by a number of existing casino gaming brands, with websites such as Virgin Games offering a wide range of traditional favourites

More and more people turned to gaming for entertainment, taking it from a niche pastime favoured by early adopters and computer enthusiasts to a mainstream activity with billions of players in just a few decades. As computing technology advanced, gaming kept pace by adopting the latest innovations and incorporating them into the gaming experience.

The gaming industry continued to grow, reaching a value of more than £12 billion and its increasing popularity meant that designers and developers were able to put even more energy into the things that made modern games popular. Improvements in the security of online payment technology meant that gamers could wager real money and win big without leaving their homes.

Although the basis of the casino games didn’t change, designers were able to introduce new elements to the gameplay, from popular themes to in-game jackpots, mini-games, and more. With no limits on the number of games that sites could host, players can choose from hundreds of themes, with games based on popular TV shows, films, songs, and almost anything else.

The rise of mobile gaming

When the first mobile phones with games on were released, the instant popularity of simple games such as snake was a good indicator that mobile gaming would be a popular pastime. Games were designed to take into account the small screen size, the limited functionality of the buttons, and the amount of memory taken up.

The appeal of mobile gaming grew as fast as the technology used evolved, allowing mobile games designers to maintain pace with phone technology and make use of innovations such as touch screens and wi-fi connectivity.

As smartphones became more and more ubiquitous, mobile gaming gained millions of fans and studios began designing apps for the mobile market. Casino games continued to be popular as the fastpace and variety of games meant that players had plenty of choices for on-the-go gaming.

Casino games were popular among mobile gamers for numerous reasons, including:

  • Shorter games – ideal for playing while commuting, on short breaks from work, or while waiting
  • Simplified controls – many apps forgo detailed settings menus to ensure menus are legible on smaller screens and while the player is in motion
  • Single-handed controls – these make it easy to play even when carrying a bag or holding onto a handrail.
  • Using an appropriate input – most games avoid using the keyboard in the game in order to minimise the need to have it covering the screen.

Gaming has become a popular pastime with billions of fans playing online every day. Traditional casino games are still among the most popular with slots consistently topping the charts of the most popular games online.

With around ninety per cent of adults in the UK owning a smartphone, and 95 per cent of those using their phones every day, the potential market for online games is driving constant innovation in the field. Innovations are consistently being incorporated into games, with casino games embracing immersive technology and artificial intelligence to create more engaging games.

Gaming studios can collect information about how players interact with their games to make their games even more interesting, give players a more entertaining experience, and make games more playable. New technology means that the experience of playing online can more closely replicate the feeling of being in a brick-and-mortar casino, with live streaming providing an authentically interactive experience.

With more and more games coming to the market every year, traditional casino games continue to attract new fans while providing new and innovative games to appeal to those that want a fun, flexible and convenient alternative to land-based casinos.

Lisa has been covering Netflix since 2014, and has spent up to 10 years covering the comings and goings of the Streaming library. Currently resides in the United Kingdom. Outer Banks, Ozark, Black, and On My Block, and Stranger Things are among my favourite Netflix series.