History of Gambling in the United Kingdom

UK Gambling history

Today, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regulate the country’s betting through the Gambling Commission, which was established in 2007.Their job is, ”to make gambling crime free, to make sure gambling is conducted fairly, and to protect vulnerable people and protect children.” That being said, the history of gambling goes way back and includes both legal and illegal moves that touched upon every class. It flourished again then as it does today with the sport, pub games, and casino games. Here is a rundown of the history of gambling under Her Majesty’s empire and its status today.

Opening Bets

Gambling has existed as far back as the Iron Age and the Roman Empire. From the Middle Ages to the Pre-Victorian era, gambling was prevalent, especially with the wealthy, who made their bets on horse racing.Even when attempts were made to control the violent behaviour by everyone, a black market sector for gambling still flourished.The first national lottery was legalised in 1569 by Queen Elizabeth I. Kings James I and Charles I funded overseas trips and improvement in infrastructure through lotteries. But, the golden age of gambling was in the Industrial Revolution, when the middle class started to get involved. Horse racing flourished while the bookmaking sector also grew.

The Table Is Closed

As the country went into the conservative Victorian era, anti-gambling voices started popping up.Cases of fraud and corruption eroded the belief the belief of fairness while the preaching of immoral acts grew, including gambling. Parliament’s Gaming Act of 1845 and Betting Act of 1853 restricted gambling, but short of banning it outright. This led to a rise in crime through back alley bookmakers in the streets in defiance of the 1906 Street Betting Act. The Royal Commissions on Lotteries and Betting eventually got the job of decided how to regulate gambling while cutting down on crime and increasing revenues simultaneously. In 1960, the Betting And Gaming Act formalised legal, regulated gambling in most sectors, most notably the betting shops.

An Economic Jackpot

Thanks to the reformation in 1960, the betting shop sector grew into the hundreds then thousands, as well as commercial casinos. The result was hundreds and millions of Pounds being raised for the government for all programs while also giving the individual a chance to win a lot with one single bet. The National Lottery was more liberalised before it finally reached the control of the state via the Camelot Group in 1994. As among the more popular forms of gaming, half of the collected funds are given to the winners, while the rest is split to charities, tax duty, Camelot, and overall profit. The Gambling Act of 2005 formally gave control of gaming regulations to local authorities and established the Gaming Commission.


As of 2016, almost £14 billion has been yielded, another 8,800 gaming shops are in business, and 176,400 gaming machines in use everywhere. With the rise of online gaming, the Commission has gotten involved to make sure players are not defrauded easily. It is a controversial subject, yet as equally popular and supported by the public. But, the history of gambling has proven people like to gamble at their leisure in various activities, and no law can stop them. Only proper regulation makes it safe, resulting in a win-win for the entire country.

If you want to find out more about UK Gambling and the Commision you find all the info you need at http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk.

Play safe and always be aware of the risks with online gambling!