Betting Shops – UK – March 2011

Abstract

Horseracing is caught between a rock and a hard place in the betting shop market in that the volume of races that enables it to attract more than £5 billion of bets a year is also seen as the cause of its failure to attract a new audience by making it highly complex to follow and assess. The recession is considered to have pushed the betting shop market into decline in recent years, but the first signs of a return to growth are visible with the market expected to increase in value by 2% in 2010-11 to £2.8 billion. The balance of customer expenditure in the betting shop market is now reaching the point at which gaming machines are as valuable as traditional OTC trade. Despite the ongoing decline of betting on horseracing, it remains by far the dominant player in the OTC mix, generating more than half of gross profit and turnover in 2009-10. Those who bet on football are highly likely to be frequent betting shops visitors. 28% of these consumers visit once a month or more, compared with 11% of those who bet on horseracing. This reflects the appeal of horseracing's flagship events that may only attract punters once or twice a year. Some 21% of all consumers see betting shops as 'unwelcoming' places, and this figure does not even fall significantly amongst those who have been to betting shops (18% agree with this perception). Younger consumers and more upscale socio-economic groups are most likely to perceive shops as unwelcoming, although women are no more likely than men to do so. Calls to action are still a strong driver of business for betting shops, with around one in five betting shop visitors say they only ever bet occasionally when something prompts them to.

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