The Covid lockdown bonanza may be ending for big gaming firms but the smart money is on boom times ahead

Fifteen years ago, when the UK government was finalising the legislation that shaped the modern gambling industry, moral panic about planned “supercasinos” meant the idea was ultimately consigned to the scrapheap. Plans for up to 40 were whittled down to eight, then again to just one in Manchester, before Gordon Brown caved in to media pressure – shrewdly harnessed by the Tories – and abandoned the idea altogether.

The flurry of gambling company results due out this week will show how the spotlight shone in the wrong place. Smartphones hit the market at roughly the same time as the 2005 Gambling Act came into force. We now live in a society where everyone has a 24-hour casino in their pocket.

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