It’s safe to say that 2020 has been a tough trading year for all businesses. That goes double for betting shops. Bookie shave has been massive in the past year with many high street shops closing their business.
The major ones still held on, but not without consequences. Popular bookie William Hill, for example, just announced a £30 million loss which has a significant impact on its revenue.
And it’s not just William Hill. Other bookies have locked shop in 2020 or reported huge losses. Tough trading and volatile sports results have been pointed out as the major reasons for the revenue hits. If these go on, it’s safe to say that the industry will suffer, and sooner than we can imagine.
Hundreds of Betting Shops Closed Their Doors
Almost a quarter of betting shops in the UK have closed shop, putting thousands of jobs at risk. It’s not just about trading. As experts explain, the closures are caused by a combination of factors. Stricter regulation on FOBTs (fixed-odds betting terminals), tough trading, and the industry moving online are the three major contributors. The latter is a major factor that has led to thousands of jobs lost.
Punters these days can easily hop up online and place bets on their favourite teams. Customers with outstanding winnings from betting shops can claim directly from the bookmakers website, and that’s much more convenient for the majority of players. Why take a trip to your nearest betting shop when you can collect your winnings online? Online betting has largely defeated betting shops’ purpose, yet it affects the industry in unprecedented (and negative) ways.
These aren’t temporary closures, mind you. Representatives from William Hill have confirmed that the closed shops won’t reopen. Thousands of people have already lost their jobs, and hundreds were redeployed. Betting shops closures are threatening betting as a business.
An Important Source of Local Employment
Betting shops provide a key source for local employment. The staff themselves don’t deserve to be victims of the changes taking place in the industry right now. Betting shops are ready to do anything they can in order to prevent the job cutting. Many are finding alternative roles for the affected staff, but it’s hard to do so with FOBTs being so uneconomical.
The FOBTs stakes were reduced to the lowest possible level last year, rendering them inefficient. It was another major blow to betting shops, with gambling businesses having no clue how to prevent the curbs on their online businesses. Many have proposed to increase contribution to charities by millions and some have proposed voluntary bans on advertising.
It’s had no major impact so far, putting the whole industry at risk. While online bookies still provide a generous source of income for the businesses, betting shops fuel local economies by employing people. With many of them closing, the industry will suffer and drag the economy down with it. It’s not been a great year for bookmakers, and so far, there have been no positive developments over the future.