Posted: Mon 14th Aug 2023

Mobile Gambling on the Rise

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Monday, Aug 14th, 2023

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The UK is home to one of the world’s longest-established gambling sectors. There has been gambling on sports events in the UK, for example, since the 17th century, and although gambling has at times been illegal, it has always been part of the fabric of life in the UK.

In 2023, the gambling sector is thriving and is regulated by one of the most respected gambling authorities in the world, the UK Gambling Commission.

The UK gambling sector has also been well-positioned to respond to the various technological changes that have swept across the gambling sector over the last 25 years, and perhaps the most profound of these has been the development of mobile gambling.

Mobile Gambling Beginnings

From the earliest days of mass-produced mobile devices, there has been interest from gambling operators, but it was the arrival of the smart phone in 2006 that led to a dramatic increase in online mobile gaming products. Developers produced ever more sophisticated gambling apps, which could be downloaded to a smartphone, so that players were able to access the full range of games, betting opportunities, and other promotions available to desktop users at

Apps were not universally popular as they required customers to install software on their mobile devices and didn’t always offer the full range of products that could be found on desktop sites.

The development of HTML5 technology changed that dynamic, making it possible for mobile users to access online casino and gambling sites directly through their mobile browsers, which had none of the downsides of the downloadable app, and which enabled mobile users to access all gaming products.

Mobile Gambling in the UK

The reality of modern gambling in the UK is increasingly being dominated by mobile devices, mostly smartphones, but including laptops and other forms of mobile technology.

Figures released by the UKGC last year showed that remote gambling is the largest sector of gambling in the UK, and around half of all online gambling was carried out via mobile devices, while among those aged 18 to 34, around 66% used a smartphone to gamble online.

The figures for 2020 underline how much mobile devices, specifically laptops and smartphones, have come to dominate online gambling. The UKGC’s survey of gamblers asked which of these devices they had used to gamble online during the preceding four weeks:

Device used %
Mobile 50
Laptop 40
PC 26
Tablet 18
Smart TV 3

The survey also showed that there had been a clear trend towards mobile devices away from PCs and laptops, while tablet and SmartTV gambling had remained essentially static.


Device used 2015 2020 Difference
Mobile 23% 50% +27%
Laptop 61% 40% -21%
PC 38% 26% -12%
Tablet 16% 18% +2%
SmartTV 2% 3% +1%


Mobile Gambling Challenges

To an extent, the growth of mobile gambling simply reflects the overall changes in the way that people in the UK relate to the internet. Last year, OFCOM found that adults spent an average of four hours on the internet per day, and that three of those hours were on mobile devices.

This does, however, present challenges. It is quicker and easier for people to gamble through their mobile devices than with other forms of gambling, and this raises major concerns for regulators. The UK government has been working on an overhaul of the UK gambling laws, and government ministers have explicitly referenced smartphone gambling as an indication that legislation needs to catch up.

The full extent of any social impact of the increase in mobile gambling will not be felt for many years, as mobile gambling is most common among the 18 to 34 age group, but bookmakers, regulators and lawmakers will have to address this significant shift in the months and years ahead.

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