Betting Shops – UK – August 2009

Abstract

Is modernisation benefiting Betting Shops? The UK gambling market has undergone far-reaching change over the near two years since the implementation of the Gambling Act in September 2007. All sectors of the industry now face a raft of new challenges and opportunities, and the betting shop market is no exception. With a shifting product and customer base, and facing new competition from online rivals, high-street bookmakers are embarking on a period of change, albeit one whose scale and nature is yet to become fully clear. The market at least has solid foundations from which to adapt to the new gambling environment. More than £4 billion was spent in betting shops during 2008 (net expenditure), and profitability is expected to be more robust during the recession than it is in many other leisure sectors. The popularity of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) has underpinned much of this success, but cannot be expected to sustain recent levels of revenue growth over the longer term. The traditional staples of dog and horserace betting appear to be in sustained decline, and with consumers keener on simpler products they understand, accelerating the ongoing rise of sports and football betting could take on a higher priority for operators. This report assesses the current condition of the betting shop market on both sides of the counter, identifying trends within and outside the sector that will impact on its future development, and analysing consumers' betting shop habits and their attitudes towards this type of gambling. In so doing, it tests the hypothesis that "new products, new technologies and new-found public interest in gambling are set to change fundamentally the nature of the betting shop experience over the next five years".

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