The gambling industry is huge. Worldwide it was worth over US$60 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to over US$90 billion as early as 2023. In the UK, gambling laws are fairly relaxed, with most forms of gambling being legal. In 2019, the industry was worth £14.3 billion in the UK alone, and employed over 90 thousand people. It’s also a popular past time for almost 50% of brits who gamble on a regular, or semi-regular basis.
By far the most popular and accessible form of gambling is the National Lottery, accounting for around 30% of the market and contributing £43 billion to good causes. Sports betting and casino games, including slots, make up over 10% of the market. There are roughly 150 land based casinos in the UK, an astounding number given the size of the country. For comparison, Canada has just 88 land based casinos and is 4,000% bigger than the UK (though the population is over 50% smaller in Canada).
While the overall number of gambling locales has fallen in the UK, with a 32% reduction in the number of arcades, betting shops and bingo halls, the number of casinos has actually risen slightly (149 to 155 between 2011 and 2019). However, the gambling industry as a whole has been shifting online, with a wealth of options available to those wanting to enjoy the thrill of the casino from the comfort of their own homes.
There are almost infinite options for players wanting to play poker, roulette or slot games online. Operators are posing a serious threat to land based casinos by offering games that can be accessed from anywhere using any device with internet connectivity, allowing players to play any time they want to. Many offer live dealer games, themed slots, and enticing welcome bonuses and daily rewards. Technology has advance in such a way that they are a viable alternative to land based casinos.
Gambling in Yorkshire
The gambling scene in Yorkshire is booming, with many different options for punters, including casinos, horse racing tracks and bingo halls.
There are a couple of land-based casino chains with a huge presence in Yorkshire. The Grosvenor Casino has casinos in Hull, Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, and Sheffield. The chain offers a variety of casino games, including poker rooms, slots, bars and restaurants, as well as showing live sports and operating 24 hours a day. There is also an online counterpart offering live dealer games, slots and an assortment of jackpot games and sports betting.
Napoleons is also a huge presence in the region, with casinos in Bradford, Hull, Leeds, Sheffield, and Manchester. As well as food and drink, and a variety of different casino games, this chain also offers visitors live music, quizzes, and even regular cabaret.
Horse racing has been a popular pastime for brits since the 18th century.
Horse racing is perhaps one of the most popular forms of gambling in Yorkshire. There are several racetracks dotted throughout the region. Fans can place bets at Pontefract Races, Wetherby Racecourse, Beverley Racecourse, Ripon Racecourse, Doncaster Racecourse, Bramham International Horse Trials, Redcar Racecourse, and Catterick Racecourse to name but a few.
One of the most popular racetracks is in Pontefract, showcasing the best in flat racing with the longest continuous flat racing circuit in Europe. There are different food and drink options for all tastes and budgets, from private dining in member’s boxes through to mobile units selling traditional Yorkshire fayre, and a picnic area where visitors can get anything from a glass of champagne to a pint of bitter.
Bingo halls have been disappearing slowly off the gambling landscape as the industry has started to shift online, but there are still a fair few bingo halls in the area. The most popular ones are Buzz Bingo, Mecca Bingo, and Gala Bingo.
Buzz Bingo has 14 locations including Barnsley, Leeds, and Wakefield. There are jackpots of up to £50,000, with regular smaller prizes ranging from £100 to £500 every day in the main bingo sessions. Buzz also offers a range of hot food options at heavily discounted prices to players, and extends introductory offers to all new members.
Mecca Bingo and Gala Bingo both have 14 sites in Yorkshire, offering bingo, slots, food and drinks, as well as slots and other weekly entertainment options to players. There are also smaller operators dotted around, including Astoria, Apollo, Beacon, Clifton, and Palais Bingo offering lots of choice, and meaning residents of the region are never too far from an evening of fun playing bingo.
How Yorkshire compares to the rest of the UK
Gambling rates in Yorkshire are marginally higher than the rest of the UK. However, when looking at average participation, Yorkshire figures across all types of gambling are fairly close to the UK averages in all forms of betting, although it does appear that more affluent areas of the UK have lower participation in gambling activity.