UK Betting Shop History began during May 1961 after the Betting and Gaming Act allowed bookmakers to operate from shops.

The Story of UK Betting Shop History

Paddy Power UK Betting Shop HistoryEarly History

After the Betting and Gaming Act 1961 was introduced it allowed betting shops to open for business. Prior to that official gambling could only take place in the field at the numerous dog and race tracks around the UK. Of course illegal gambling was rife but it was hoped the new  Act would allow better controls.

That was the trigger for starting of a big new lucrative business. Betting shops were soon opening up in every conceivable location and after the first six months there were 10,000 open for business. It became the fastest growing industry in the UK at the time.

At the start it was necessary for a punter to open up an account with a bookmaker and place a bet at the same tote odds as on the course. Bets could be placed in person or over the phone. Tote odds were fair because the losing bets were paid out to the winning bets, less a house commission which was regulated. The idea was to stamp out uncontrolled betting. The new UK betting shops had to apply for licenses and operate under strict regulations.

As a result, UK betting became a fair and safe recreation for those who wished to indulge.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of investment was made into bookmaking shops. The big names in the UK were William Hill, Ladbrokes and in Ireland, Paddy Power. In the early days, many of the smaller bookmakers were taken over in the fight to increase business. the big names are still in business to this day. Other betting giants like Coral Leisure and Mecca also joined the race. UK betting shop history is well remembered by many of the older generation.

Later the Government introduced a 10% UK betting tax on all winnings but in 2002, following pressure from the betting giants, they relented. Now you can pay your tax in advance when placing your bet.

Recent History

Since the mid 1990’s UK betting also went online and sports betting became even more popular to the masses. Statistics show that one in five people now place a bet more than twice a week.

Recently there has been an outcry to banish fixed odds betting terminals from bookmakers shops. The UK Government have been very instrumental in this claiming that the addictive nature of fixed odds betting terminals have destroyed many lives and families.

Mergers and acquisitions of betting shop brands continues. However,  statistics show the value of betting shops is in decline, due to online sports betting. Of course all of the major players became involved in online sports betting so they did not miss out. Now, with online gambling using mobile devices betting shop business has declined further.

Statistic show that betting shops have declined by 43% since the 1970’s. UK betting shop history maybe something of a closed book in the future, except for those that remember it.

The popularity of Bingo has followed a similar timeline and that has also been in decline. Many of the betting shop giants have also been involved in Bingo, it can be played online now. Read more about Bingo history.

Read more about interesting gambling history.

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