Betting In Britain – The Long Running UK Culture Of Gambling

Posted: May 21, 2020

Updated: May 21, 2020

  • An Elitist Vice, A Pursuit Of The Poor And A Harmless Flutter Too
  • Bet365 Facilitates The Very Foundation Of UK Culture Of Gambling 
  • 19th Century Attitudes Face Up To 21st Century Technology Online

The UK culture of gambling is one long marked by a duality of attitude. Both the authorities and the public are all but schizophrenic about it. They deride it as a vice on one hand and positively encourage it as a harmless flutter on the other. Historically there is, as they say, rather a lot of baggage. Modern online betting sites in the UK like Bet365 thus find themselves walking a bizarrely hypocritical tightrope. Growing accessibility might not equate to expanding acceptability.   

Gambling probably has a few thousand years of history in the UK. The changeable weather alone lends itself to wagers. The Vikings and Romans will both have brought their gambling games with them, of course. By the time the French invaded in 1066, the last time the UK was invaded, Brits would be well versed in gaming. William the Conqueror and his Normans had a significant effect on the UK culture of gambling. The old dice games and new card games mingling in the new fledged society.

This was very much a game of two unequal halves. The aristocracy was only too happy to game, but seemed reticent to allow the lower orders to enjoy the same facility. Prohibitions on gaming came and went in the UK with almost startling regularity. Nearly as often as people ignored those laws. Aspiration was a huge factor in the development of the UK culture of gambling. The poor may have bet on sports in the UK at the early proto-incarnations of bookies Bet365, but the new middle classes preferred to game at home.   

Georgian Codification Lays The Foundations

File:Allan Ramsay - King George III in coronation robes - Google Art Project.jpg
King George III was a famous character in the Georgian Era – Image source: Allan Ramsay via Wikimedia Commons

The rise of a trading middle class desperate to ape the behavior of the upper classes led to an influx of games. Many journeying from the courts of Europe, adopted from far further East. The Middle Ages will have seen the UK culture of gambling resemble a Bruegel painting. All strata of society is very much apt to wager. However the codification of games and gaming really only began with the Georgians. The onus of the industrial revolution falling on gambling in the UK too.

A bet on sports in the UK was much easier once the sports had rules and some semblance of organization. Horse racing particularly stems from this period. The Grand National, Epsom Derby, and Cheltenham Gold Cup all hail from the Victorian love of a little flutter. Indeed, it is that attitude that has perpetuated in the modern UK culture of gambling. Their somewhat puritanical streak still shapes the public perception of online sportsbook sites in the UK like Bet365. 

George Bernard Shaw

“In gambling the many must lose in order that the few may win.”

UK Culture Of Gambling Perpetuated At Bet365

The educated well-to-do may wager their fortunes as they wish, but the poor, per se, should only do so a few times a year. That this attitude remains to this day, albeit in a watered down form, says much about the UK. Committees of MPs will rail against the gambling industry as defenders of the ignorant poor, then okay a super casino for themselves. It’s a very patronizing position, one that forms the basis of the UK culture of gambling today. The law grants the freedom, society then sneers at it. 

English Proverb

“The best throw of the dice is to throw them away.”

Traditional flutters are wholly accepted, and sites like Bet365 have all the freedom they need to operate under UK gambling laws. The UK culture of gambling isn’t going anywhere. However, the attitude of the tabloid press keeps the class divide alive. The internet brought live gambling on sports to the masses, keeping the aspirations going. The upper classes, meanwhile, still cling to the attitude that this is only to be expected of the great uneducated unwashed. They now do their gambling on the stock market.  

Read more about global gambling culture.

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We take a look at where the UK culture of gambling came from and why it really hasn’t changed as much as you think it might have over the last few centuries.

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