Key Differences Between the UK and US Gambling Markets

Why Atmosphere is the Most Important Thing inside the Gaming Industry


When it comes to gambling markets in the U.K. and the U.S., there are some significant differences in both physical casinos and online ones. In the U.K., the government has clear laws that regulate the industry. In the U.S., there is no federal law to regulate gambling. It is up to the individual states to decide on whether to allow gambling and on the regulations. 

The law

Each state in the U.S. has its own regulatory body and regulations. Only six states currently have US online casinos where players can legally play casino games. More states offer legalized sports betting. In the U.S., players need to be 21 or older to gamble legally. 

The U.K. is one of the best-regulated countries in the world when it comes to gambling. The UK Gambling Commission is an independent body that supervises the activity and reports it to parliament. It has the authority to allow online casinos to operate or remove their right to do so. In the U.K., players need to be 18 or older to gamble legally. 


In the U.S., operators receive their licenses from the gambling authorities in the states where they operate. For example, in Pennsylvania operators need to apply to the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) to get a license. Operators with licenses should comply with various rules and regulations, such as having the necessary financial resources to pay out winnings and being honest and transparent with customers. Operators pay taxes on their revenue to the state.

In the U.K., operators must obtain a license from the Gambling Commission. To do so, they must fulfill various requirements such as having adequate financial resources and being able to protect vulnerable customers. Operators pay taxes on their profits and must contribute to the education and treatment of problem gamblers.


In the U.S., slot machines bring in a little more than 70% of gross gambling revenue. Americans of legal gambling age appear to prefer spinning the reels to playing other casino games. Table games account for about 15% of casino revenue and sports betting accounts for about 5%. Americans are great sports lovers and enjoy betting on all the major league sports, such as American football and basketball. 

In the U.K., slot machines are just as popular. European roulette is one of the most played table games. This version has only one zero pocket whereas American roulette has two, which makes its house edge higher. Sports betting is also popular in the U.K., and Brits bet most on football and horse racing. 


In the U.S., players must disclose their casino winnings to the taxman. Minimum amounts must be exceeded for the tax to be withheld. U.K. citizens gambling in America don’t have to pay tax on their winnings. In the U.K., any money gamblers win is tax-free. 

Gaming software providers

Playtech is one of the gaming software providers with a solid foothold in the U.S. By using local software from game developers, casino operators can ensure compliance with local laws and improve the user experience. Evolution Gaming, NetEnt, Play’n Go, and IGT are other gaming software providers that operate in the U.S. 

The U.K. has access to a wider variety of games from many different gaming software providers. This includes Microgaming, NextGen, Betsoft, iSoftBet, Playtech, Quickspin, and Play’n Go. 

Size of land-based casinos

Land-based casinos in the U.S. are usually much larger in size than those in the U.K. Many of them offer over 100,000 square feet of gambling space. Casinos usually have additional attractions such as restaurants, shopping, and live entertainment. In the U.K., land-based casinos are generally much smaller, with only a few of them over 50,000 square feet. 

The US gambling market size is rapidly increasing and in 2023 commercial casinos won $66.5 billion from gamblers. The gross gambling yield in the UK is lower and is projected to reach €12.60 billion in 2024.

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