In 2020 alone, more than 460 high street betting shops closed for good. This trend has continued in 2021, as the economic climate has proved too difficult to sustain for bookmakers. The closure of betting shops is in keeping with the death of the high street more broadly, as both large and small retailers are struggling to make enough money to keep the doors of brick-and-mortar venues open. Below are some of the reasons why betting sites are increasingly replacing high street shops.
While the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t directly responsible for the large-scale closure of betting shops in the UK, it has undoubtedly contributed. As many shops were forced to close their doors during the lockdowns, many didn’t reopen again when the government lifted restrictions. Also, COVID-19 has changed some people’s behaviour, as they’re more comfortable with betting online rather than heading out and placing bets in their high street betting shop.
The cost of rent and overheads.
Operating a shop on the high street isn’t cheap. Bookmakers have to consider costs like staff time, rent, business rates, and utility bills. These costs take a sizeable chunk out of a bookmaker’s profits, whereas operating exclusively online is much less costly. The fact that people are more than happy to use betting sites in the present day has encouraged many sports betting sites to close their brick-and-mortar venues and focus their efforts on improving their online offers.
Improvements in technology.
The internet and associated technology have come an awful long way in the past decade or so. From an online betting site, punters can live stream high-profile sporting events from all around the world, access incredible bonuses and promotions, and enjoy excellent graphics and user-friendly interfaces. Some betting sites also make use of virtual reality and other technological advances to power a range of online games like slots and casino tables. There’s very little motivation for people to leave the comfort of their own homes to place a bet when they can do everything from the screen in front of them.
As well as being accessible from laptops and desktop computers, the biggest names in online betting tend to have user-friendly free mobile betting apps that enable players to bet on the go. So, no matter where they are in the country, people can place a bet on their favourite sports, providing they have access to an internet connection. This is so much easier than having to head out to the betting shop to check the latest odds and place your weekly selections.
In the not-so-distant past, to check out your bookmaker’s competitors, you would have to walk from shop to shop, discovering their latest promotions and reviewing their current odds. But now, punters can simply open Google and find out the latest odds and promotions from a huge variety of betting sites. This makes their life so much easier and enables punters to extract even better value for money when looking at upcoming sporting markets. The incredible choice that punters have today online almost makes high street betting shops redundant.
It’s little surprise that online betting sites are replacing high street betting shops, and this is a trend that is likely to continue into the future. We will probably see a time in the near future when there are very few (if any) high street betting shops left, as more and more people turn to online sites to get their weekly sports betting fix.