The number of UK betting shops is at its lowest level since they were legalised in 1961, according to Global betting and Gaming Consultants – who expect their number will fall further, “given the regulatory and operational difficulties they are facing.”
“In 1961 there were 8,802 betting shops in operation – in reality only a partial year because legalisation came in on 1 May,” wrote GBGC’s Lorien Pilling. “The most recent provisional figures from the Gambling Commission show that in the year to 31 March 2019 there were 8,320 ‘active premises’.”
“This period does not cover the introduction of the new restrictions on B2 FOBT stakes (April 2019) and the number of betting shops will have fallen further since this data was compiled.”
The Isle of Man consultancy highlighted an indicative passage included in the recent financial accounts of one independent betting firm which describes “a considerable drop in UK betting shops numbers since 1 April 2019 and this trend is set to continue.
“The remaining shops could be put under further financial pressure as media rights companies seek unreasonable increases in charges to compensate for the reduction in income caused by the drop in shop numbers”.
“Changes to legislation and regulation continues to present the highest risk to the business,” it went on. “There is no indication that politicians will start to take an evidence-based approach to gambling regulation and it is possible that the retail betting industry will suffer further unwarranted punitive regulations.”