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Gambling history and regulations in the UK

Gambling history and regulations in the UK

Casinos and Bingo Halls


As of today, gambling is an integral part of British culture, and even though it may seem like it has been so for centuries, some of the former regulations, in fact, used to be rather strict. Bingo, in particular, has gained its popularity after the Second World War. Armed forces were the primary group of people who played an essential role in the popularization of bingo. However, even despite the vast popularity of the game, the construction of commercial bingo halls was not legalized until 1960. Yet, even this legalization had a catch – the halls were supposed to work on the commission from membership fees and not from single bets.

A similar story happened to the casinos. Right after the end of WWII, the number of casinos in Britain was rather limited. Even more – first casinos could only have a maximum of 10 slot machines. It was not until 1968 that the casinos started to grow. The Gaming Act 1968 presupposed the construction of commercial casinos that could offer other board games as well.

However, huge luxurious casinos (similar to Las Vegas in the USA) were constricted in Britain only after The Gambling Act 2005. That is, the first world-class casino in Britain was built in Manchester, in 2007. Afterwards, 16 smaller casinos have appeared in the region.

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Sports Gambling

Sport gambling has been popular in Britain for years. Its history probably started with horse and greyhound racing, and afterwards transferred to football. However, the official legalization of sport gambling happened only in 1960. Betting and Gaming Act 1960 played a major part in the establishment of totalisators as we know them today.


You will be surprised to know that the first lotteries took place in Britain before 1698. Afterwards, this tradition has been banned for over 200 years. In 1934, however, the lotteries became legal again. Further liberalization of the lotteries occurred in 1956 and 1976.

The first National Lottery, however, took place only in 1994. Until then, lotteries were restricted to a local level. This liberalization played an important role in the further development of hazard games. In 1990s, scratchcards have become particularly popular.

The legalization of the lottery also resulted in age restrictions associated with gambling. Only a UK citizen can purchase a lottery ticket. Plus, this citizen has to be at least 16 years old and have saving in his/her bank account.

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