It’s fair to say that we’re a nation that loves a bet, particularly on Tyneside. There are a number of racecourses within the region and the likes of Newcastle and Sunderland welcome thousands of wagers on them every weekend.

So much so the gambling industry is worth a staggering £14.5billion across the country. While other industries are failing, bookmakers and casinos are thriving as people seek entertainment in both the establishments and online across the UK.

The latter has certainly had the biggest impact, with online bookies and casinos attracting more players than ever before. This can largely be attributed to the fact that more of us now prefer to bet on the go but casinos have also invested heavily in a bid to improve their games catalogues. Leading brands such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power now offer some of the most popular and best online slots in the UK, as well as a whole host of other immersive titles. Coupled with the fact that there are now more sports betting markets to wager on then ever before, it’s little surprise the industry is booming and this growth shows little sign of abating.

Convenience is of course a major part of that. Online gambling accounts for almost 40% of spending in the country, twice the amount of the national lottery, with males the most significant proportion of that.

In some cases this is having an adverse effect on the high street. Look around the north east and Newcastle city centre in particular and you’ll find more bookmakers closing than opening, as people look to bet in-play and on-the-go via their mobile. It’s quicker, easier and you don’t require visiting a bookies to collect your winnings.

However, the country has actually seen a rise in casinos opening, which is undoubtedly down to a new found love online. Technology is making a realistic experience easier than ever and it appears to be encouraging people through the doors in brick-and-mortar venues.

That’s only going to continue given the fact technology continues to advance how customers play both with bookmakers and casinos.

For casinos, the advent of live casino is introducing new players to the real-life experience, while that’s going to be boosted further with the arrival of virtual reality.

It’s always been an industry that has been ahead of the game and as it stands, users can play alongside a real dealer on the likes of roulette and blackjack, with the ability to engage with the dealer and players via video link. Virtual reality will place players in the heart of a casino from their own living room. That is set to revolutionise the industry even further.

It will be interesting to see at what rate that will be. 2020 will certainly be another big year for the industry, particularly in casino and forecasts are suggesting spend on the pastime will see a significant increase.