UK betting industry continues to shift from shops to online

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The landscape in the UK betting industry continues to change as operators face numerous challenges to their business models.

The growth of the internet has been a major contributory factor to the shift in gambling habits, with punters now able to place bets at a time and place that suits their personal needs.

Bookmakers are now shifting their focus towards their online betting sites. Therefore, all the top sportsbook comparison sites such as BettingTop10 have increased their online presence in the market as their customers gravitate away from the shops on the high street.

According to the Gambling Commission, remote gambling is the largest sector by Gross Gambling Yield (GGY) in the UK. The sector constitutes over 37% of the overall market with £5.39 billion GGY. Football and horse racing betting make up the biggest portion of this figure, with wagering on golf, greyhounds, cricket and tennis also generating healthy revenues.

Leading bookmakers like William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and others have had to invest significant resources into their online operations in order to keep pace with changes in consumer habits. The move towards online gambling has resulted in a reduction of the number of betting shops, with the sector reporting a near two percent decrease between March and September 2018. Changes in the legislation governing Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) are expected to cause further shop closures in the near future.

The betting stake limit on the machines has been reduced from £100 to just £2, meaning many punters will now look towards the internet to play their favourite games. When the changes were first announced the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) claimed that over half the shops in the UK could close, forcing thousands of people out of work. Many operators have been encouraging their staff to sign-up as many gamblers as they can to online accounts in order to fill the void in turnover.

While many bookmakers are likely to be forced to close some of their shops, it is unlikely that the impact will be as drastic as forecast by the ABB.
The popularity of online gambling seems sure to continue on an upward curve over the coming years, meaning operators will be able to redeploy most of the staff into other areas of their businesses.

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