You’d struggle to watch and read the news in the UK without regularly hearing reports about the “decline of the high street”. Even if you ignore the news you can’t avoid it. In towns and cities around the country, we’re presented with closed and boarded up shops that were once hives of activity.
This trend of shop closures has existed for over a decade and began with the rise of online shopping. It was then accelerated by the 2008 recession and looks set to accelerate again as we find ourselves in another economic decline.
Online shopping has taken much of the blame for this change as people prefer the convenience and lower cost of buying goods over the internet. However, it isn’t the only culprit.
Banks have been closing branches at an incredible rate. Between 2015 and 2019, British banks shuttered 3,303 of their retail outlets.
Online sports betting and casino games like netent no deposit bonus have also had an effect, but not in the same way.
Betting on sports online and from a mobile device is often more convenient than visiting a physical betting shop. Yet, as many retailers were closing their doors, bookmakers were opening new stores.
In 2011, the number of betting shops in the UK increased by 2.92%. It then rose by a further 6.72% in 2012. The numbers have slowly been declining since then, but in 2019 there were still more outlets than in 2010.
This recent decline has been because online betting and changes to regulations have meant fewer people spending less in these shops.
Yet, in 2018, sports betting only made up around 40% of all wagers, with the remaining being spent in high street shops and at sporting venues like racetracks.
It seems then, that betting shops provide an experience rather than just a commodity, making it more comparable to a trip to a coffee shop than a grocery store.
Although one is permitted by law, no “super casinos” exist in the UK. Many smaller casinos do exist though, with two categories being used to define their maximum size:
- “Large casino” – at least 1,000 square metres in size and no more than 150 slot machines with a jackpot of no more than £4,000
- “Small casino” – at least 750 square metres and no more than 80 slot machines
Small casinos are the ones you see on high streets, often with frosted glass windows. These too have been growing in numbers over the last decade, but very slowly. In 2013 there were 144, while in 2019 155 were operating.
It seems then that the growth in online betting for both sports and casino games has not had a negative effect on their land-based equivalents.
Instead, given that the number of casinos and betting shops has grown and that online wagering still doesn’t account for the majority of revenue, that we’re unlikely to see these bookmakers and casinos retreating en masse.
Instead, it seems that the two complement each other, providing convenience through online and mobile services and social experience through retail outlets.