The internet has reshaped every aspect of our life and culture. This fact is more and more evident with every passing day. While some may see this as a negative, due to the fact that many traditional venues are dying out, many others prefer to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. Now, we can add one more industry to the growing list of industries that have been forever changed by internet technology. That industry is the gambling business.
Betting shops all over the UK have seen a dramatic downturn in their profits, to the point that many are fearing outright closure. The data that has been made public by the Office For National Statistics shows a disturbing downturn in the business of many betting parlors. However, this data shows a somewhat mixed bag of results. While some types of gambling shops have nearly disappeared, or are struggling to pay the rent, others are actually booming. The lack of a coherent trend suggests that there is more than one factor at play.
The first (and most obvious) factor is the rise of online gambling venues. While online gambling has existed for decades, it has not always been as prevalent or as convenient. It seems that online casinos and other internet betting opportunities are everywhere. It is hard to deny that online gambling presents a more convenient option for those who want to engage in a little bit of casual betting. However, the unique atmosphere and feel of a real casino were thought to be unassailable. Recent developments show that this assessment was overly optimistic. There’s just no beating the power of superior convenience.
The second (and perhaps the less obvious) factor is the increase in government regulation that has taken place in recent years. According to the Association of British Bookmakers,
many of the woes faced by in-person gambling venues is due to a simple change in government regulations.
Fixed-odds betting terminals have a limited betting threshold. The law requires that these terminals cannot allow the user to bet more than two pounds within 20 seconds. This is a big change when you consider that the law previously allowed a limit of one hundred pounds every 20 seconds. These regulations have made this particular form of gambling less profitable. It is hard to imagine that this trend will reverse itself anytime soon since the law is unlikely to be changed and online betting isn’t going away either.