The Rise in UK Gambling
I woke up this morning to the headline “UK gamblers spent over £42 billion last year”. Apparently we are spending more and more on gambling every year; the article went on to say that we are almost a nation of gambling junkies trying to bet at every opportunity, getting our fix wherever and whenever we can”. But is this fair? And is the problem as bad as the press makes out?
There is no doubt that we Britons are gambling more of our hard earned cash than ever before. I don’t think this is a cultural shift; it is more a case that gambling is more accessible for the average person. Since the dawn of the Internet online gambling has captivated audiences the world over. The range of services and products available to us is more than we could have ever imagined and as a result more and more of us are taking advantage of them.
Poker plays a major part in the rise in the amount that is gambled annually in the UK. The past few years has seen the game reach meteoric heights. There are televised tournaments on terrestrial television fuelling our hunger for the game. Poker players have a new found celebrity status and you see them endorsing everything from online poker rooms to magazines.
Online poker has also seen phenomenal growth. Party poker recently floated on the London stock exchange yielding its creators billions of dollars, nice work if you can get it. Then there are the professional online players. You read about them every so often, the 18 year old that decided not to go to university because he can win ,000 a month by playing the big tournaments. Sadly this is not the case for the majority of players. There are without question more losers than winners in poker, that is the nature of the game and that aspect will never change.
Even though there are many more losers than winners in online poker this does not mean you cannot enjoy poker online. The problem is knowing where to play. The vast majority of sites are hosted offshore in countries such as Antigua and the Gibraltar. I’m sure there will be a few readers who have alarm bells ringing at this point thinking all sites must be up to no good if they are located offshore, but this is not the case.
The reason for so many gambling sites being located offshore is for tax reasons. Many sites enjoy a tax-free status and at worst considerably lower tax rates than in the UK. If all the sites out there were corrupt then why would people continue to play at them? I for one would not continue to play at a site that habitually ate my money and never provided me with any winnings.
My advice to online gamblers in the UK is, find some reviews before you play. Look for comments from other players about the site before you deposit. After all real players do not lie about where they play, this way you can gain an honest opinion about a site before depositing.
Gambling in the UK has risen to record levels, but this is because we have more access to the industry and its products. Of course there will be problem gamblers and we need to ensure that there is support there for them should they need it. But overall players should enjoy their gaming whilst yielding the advice from other players.
For more information on online gambling sites visit www.bewisebets.co.uk to “see what others say before you play” Bewise bets is an online gambling directory and search engine providing honest consumer reviews for online gambling sites
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Mark Hirst is an experienced gambler specialising in the online industry. Visit his online gambling directory & search engine for honest consumer reviews and detailed gaming strategies