A recent revenue report by the UK’s Gambling Commission has revealed that online gaming is now the largest cash generator within the gambling industry. Following regulation that came into play back in 2014, the UK Gambling Commission has been responsible for licensing and regulating the live and online betting industries.
This new wave of regulation has led to a number of improvements across the board, one of which has been increased revenue for online operators. Indeed, one of the main reasons National Lottery sales reached a new peak between April 2015 and March 2016 (£7.6 billion) was thanks to the advent of online sales. With players able to purchase tickets, read lottery news and check their tickets via their desktop or mobiles, revenue hit an upswing.
Tech and Regulation Takes Gambling to New Heights
In fact, when the numbers were finally in, online gambling claimed 32% market share with £4.5 billion in revenue. That amount of interest in online gambling has not only pushed the sector ahead of live horse racing and National Lottery revenue, but spawned a host of innovations. Just as technology and new ways of making money online have shaped other industries, the online gambling world has also undergone changes in recent years.
Perhaps the most interesting innovation to come out of this move towards online betting in the UK is free play games. Although one of the fundamental tenets of betting is staking X to win Y, X doesn’t have to be real money anymore. If you look through the online betting industry, everything from bonuses to practice games allows players to have a real betting experience without the cost.
Free Betting Isn’t a Misnomer Anymore
One of the best examples of this in recent years is Zynga Poker. Even though players aren’t using real money, Zynga is still the largest online poker site in the world with roughly 20 million monthly users. Taking this one step further but in a slightly different direction in recent years is Free National Lotto, doing exactly what it suggests it does, this site allows members to play lottery games without spending any money. However, what’s different about this site is that the money you win isn’t subject to any “wagering requirements.”
Traditional online casinos will give players bonuses they can use to win real money, but the profit they glean from said bonuses has to be “worked off” by placing bets with their own money. So, even though players can bet for free, they actually have to spend some money if they want to realise the true potential of their bonus. Free National Lotto is different. Taking the advertising revenue model that the likes of YouTube have implemented over the last decade, this site gives members the opportunity to win a small sum of money without any conditions attached to it.
New Ways to Play in a New Industry
After creating an account, players pick five numbers just as they would with any other lottery. The numbers they choose are valid for the following draws and, if the player makes five matches, they win:
Daily Draw – Takes place every day and has a £5 prize.
5 Ball Draw – Takes place on a Thursday and Sunday and has a £10 prize.
Naturally, the site has a few bells and whistles such as handy number picker feature that tells you when your selection matches someone else’s (i.e. so you don’t split a prize). However, the major draw is the fact you can play and win for free and that’s down to the recent growth of iGaming. While it may have once been a taboo subject, gambling is now a legitimate industry in the UK thanks to regulate.
This push towards a formal system has not only resulted in more revenue for operators, but more funds flowing into the nation’s tax coffers. Off the back of this, we’ve seen more innovations and more opportunities for players. The overall result is a thriving industry that’s an example of what technology can do for businesses.