Sports betting has been for decades a popular activity in the United Kingdom and also across Europe. The US is a slightly different case, with restrictions of all types limiting players from betting on sports.
Both online and offline, these restrictions apply, so Americans are still waiting for the day when prohibitive laws will be lifted. Meanwhile, in Europe, the high street betting shops are free to attract as many players as they can, but struggle to stay competitive against their online counterparts.
A local hotspot of entertainment
When the first high street betting shops opened their doors to the public, people from all walks of life flocked to these locations. These were local hotspots of entertainment for people who placed a bet on their favorite teams, athletes and make a nice profit.
Horse racing used to be the main attraction and for decades it was the driving force behind the success of betting shops. As the popularity of these competitions subsided, people turned to football, tennis and more recently esports for betting.
The number of betting shops continued to grow and the first signs of trouble appeared in the 2000s. That coincided with the moment online bookmakers emerged, providing an alternative to punters.
In the first years, the local betting parlors didn’t actually lose business. That’s because punters decided to stick to the gambling systems they knew and were reluctant to trade high street betting shops for their online peers. The only losses suffered were in regard to attracting new customers, as many migrated online.
Online betting crippled high street shops
After the initial mistrust regarding online bookmakers was gone, betting online with popular casino sites like PlayUK.com became far more exciting. A small number of punters who would normally bet locally moved online, but many decided to stick to what they knew.
An overwhelming majority of new players decided to play online, so local bookmakers were unable to attract fresh blood. As the older generations passed and the influx of new players almost stopped, high street betting shops found themselves in a very dangerous situation.
In recent years, the betting community grew, but local bookmakers didn’t benefit from this search. Casual and recreational punters sounded more convenient to place a bet online.
That’s because these types of players, which don’t bet very often and gamble relatively small amounts enjoy their privacy. While these are not exactly the big spenders that bookmakers are hoping for, there are millions of casual punters all over the world.
They generally end up losing the money, which isn’t a problem for them, since the goal is to have fun betting. For bookmakers, this is a win-win situation, so the goal is to attract as many casual punters as possible.
High street betting shops are unable to compete with their online counterparts who offer bonuses and all sorts of incentives. With each passing year, online ventures are gaining ground and local bookies are compelled to restrict their activity, close shops and let people go.