Leading the way in popular digital entertainment

Online gambling is a digital entertainment activity which is popular in many EU countries. In 2018, our member companies had over 16.5 million Europeans customers.

Each day across Europe millions of people are visiting online gambling websites for their entertainment, as a means to have fun and spend their leisure time – similar to other paid forms of entertainment, like going to the movies, live streaming music or playing a video game.

Gambling is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the world and is also one of the oldest, dating back to the Paleolithic period before written history even begun. The oldest dice found dated back to about 3000 BC – but it is believed that forms of gambling existed even thousands of years earlier.

Online gambling is a popular form of entertainment for many people

Most people have probably gambled at some point in their life, sometimes without even knowing. If you have ever bought a lottery ticket, participated in raffle or prize draw, then you have participated in a form of gambling. But for many people it is a conscious and popular form of entertainment. In 2018, over 16.5 million Europeans had an active online account with EGBA member companies.

Gambling’s cultural impact is seen all around us. In the UK, the Grand National is a cultural phenomenon which attracts huge interest and is watched by an estimated 500-600 million people in over 140 countries. It is estimated that nearly half the UK adult population gamble or place bets on this iconic racing event.

Most people like to play traditional casino games or bet on sports

The vast majority of people who gamble are not regular gamblers, they gamble occasionally – and purely for fun. They enjoy this form of entertainment responsibly – be it playing poker, betting on horse racing, playing casino games or putting money on the chances of their favourite football team. Over the years a wide range of online gambling options have become available in order to cater to the needs of many different people and their preferences. In 2018, sports betting (42.5%) was the most popular form of online gambling in Europe, followed by casino games (32.4%), lottery (12.6%), poker (5%), bingo (4.3%), and other games (3.2%).[1]

Source: H2 Gambling Capital. *EGBA has permission to use this data and it should not be extracted and reproduced outside of this website without the prior permission of H2 Gambling Capital.

And the bookmaker doesn’t always win either

The old adage that “the bookmaker always wins” is certainly not the case – in 2018, EGBA member companies had a high average return to player payout rate of 93%. That means that an average customer received €9.30 return for every €10 they bet. In return for the entertainment services they provide, EGBA member companies retain a margin of less than 7% of the betting funds they process.

Key facts:

  • Online gambling is a very popular form of entertainment, with over 16.5 million European customers having active online gambling accounts with EGBA member companies alone.
  • Gambling has a significant cultural impact with half of the UK adult population betting each year on the UK Grand National.
  • The bookie doesn’t always win – EGBA member companies have a high average return to player payout rate of 93%.
  • Sports betting is the most popular form of online gambling (42.5%), followed by casino games (32.4%), lotteries (12.6%), poker (5%), bingo (4.3%), and other games (3.2%).


[1] H2 Gambling Capital (2019).

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