Online Gambling in the UK
Sponsored post for NetBet
What’s the deal with online casino gambling in the UK?
Many readers will know that I’ve worked in the online gambling industry. I’ve been an online gambling host and also I’ve written content for gambling related sites. It’s a curious world, a subculture, that people see all the time but don’t necessarily understand.
I’m taking a look at online gambling in the UK as this country is seeing a huge boom in gambling sites. It’s a real growth industry that employs a lot of people, from customer service to programmers and artists working on the actual production of games. It really is booming, as the BBC reported in this article about the wave of mergers and acquisitions in 2015:
Analysts say a “mergers and acquisitions frenzy” is sweeping the UK.
In fact, in the year to August, there were more takeovers and mergers in the UK gambling sector than in any other country.
According to Nick Batram, an analyst at brokerage Peel Hunt, operators are looking to scale up for two main reasons.
He says: “On the one hand they are seeing the costs of tax, compliance and technology go up, and want to offset this. But they are also looking for new ways to grow as the market becomes more competitive.”
Why so much growth in the UK?
The fact is that the UK has been embracing online gambling for a long time. Part of what attracts people is the range of available sites and the fact that they have English speaking support and the GPB currency (this may seem obvious but the online world is broad, catering to various countries and currencies, or not in the case of some sites).
The ease of access to these sites is a boon for the UK. Here we enjoy totally legal access to online gambling (provided that you’re over 18) and it’s very easy to find sites, thanks to media coverage (some countries allow online gambling, but don’t allow them to advertise!). Some countries make it hard for people to play online, or downright illegal, but here the doors are open and sites are more transparent as a result. All reputable sites will have a license and high-tech encryption security.
These factors combined with the English speaking support and big welcome bonuses mean that new players join all the time, so the online gambling movement is always gaining momentum.
Where to play?
Here are some tips when choosing an online casino.
- Licensing. Always check that they have licensing info, usually bottom of the home page.
- Welcome bonuses. Getting a welcome bonus is a huge part of joining a new site; you can double your money and some players change sites regularly to claim them. However, do bear in mind that you’ll have wagering requirements with these bonuses, so check the terms and conditions.
- Support. Make sure they have support that’s open 24/7. The best sites have Email, phone and live chat based support.
- Game selection. Yep, it may seem obvious, but it’s worth a nosey at the games. Different sites have access to different developers. Some may focus on slots, others on table games like roulette.
The folks at NetBet made themselves known to me and in all fairness, they actually do hit all of the above criteria. For example, on casino.netbet.co.uk you’ll see the logo of the UK Gambling Commission down at the bottom of the home page, as well as a welcome bonus. This bonus is double your first deposit, up to £200. At the time of writing, they even have a pretty cracking 25 free spins up for grabs, up to a total possible value of £250, for which you don’t even need to deposit- this is just the thing to look for, as it lets you try things out before getting invested.
But they’re just slot games, right?
Newcomers to online slots may be thinking ‘So what? The reels spin and reveal symbols. It’s like going to Blackpool, but without the smell’. Well, that’s true, but there’s more to online slots. Being entirely virtual, they can do a lot more than the traditional mechanical slots we’re used to.
The best new slot games have loads of features made possible by being, essentially, a video game. For example, casino.netbet.co.uk has some of the big hits of the online slots world, like Thunderstruck II.
This is basically Thor: the slot game (not the Marvel Thor, but there are Marvel slots, including the Hulk and Iron Man!). The graphics are pretty smart and it has thematic music, plus the Great Hall bonus round that builds as you play more and unlock access to new gods (Loki, Odin, Thor).
On top of the advanced in-game features, most sites also have progressive jackpots. These keep climbing until someone wins, so you can really land a huge prize if you get lucky. You might also want to try out Live Dealer games, which really make the most of internet technology to let you play table games like roulette with real, live dealers, shown via streaming video! Snazzy.
Give it a spin.
So, that’s the skinny about online gaming in the UK- but there are a lot of concerns at the moment around problem gambling and its worth taking a moment to acknowledge that. Casino call it Responsible Gaming and Wikipedia has a great overview of what that entails:
Responsible Gaming is a concept that gaming and gambling operators, software suppliers and associated service providers need to uphold to ensure their offerings uphold the highest standards to ensure a fair and safe gaming experience that protects players from the adverse consequences of gaming and gambling.
The point here is that gambling companies have to adhere to these guidelines to keep their licences and good reputation, so they will even intervene if you flag certain behaviours. Still, please do be careful and don’t go chasing losses! It’s a game, a hobby. One of the good things about playing in the UK of course is that online gambling is prevalent here and there’s a strong support case for those with addiction issues.
Hope you enjoy having a crack at sites like NetBet. Let me know if you drop some big wins!