Retail sports betting could see a 50 percent decline over the next five years, as Coronavirus leaves a lasting impact on UK-wide gambling behaviour.
Speaking to Gambling Insider, gambling consultant Steve Donoughue predicted high street bookmakers will continue to be hit hard, even when movement restrictions are reduced. “Land-based is going to suffer as people will switch to online and may never return,” said Donoughue.
“Land-based depends on people making a visit to their venue as part of their regular schedule – once that stops being regular, things will change.”
“There will always be a market for retail sports betting, but will it be one that is sufficient for the number of shops we have now? I doubt it. I predict a 50 percent drop over the next few years.”
The news will come as a further blow to UK bookmakers, already under significant pressure from dwindling high street footfall, the effect of the £2 FOBT stake cap, and the growing trend towards online.
However, despite the bleak prediction, Donoughue urged sports betting operators “keep your nerve,” adding the industry could still bounce back.
“We will get through this. Sport will return. Be innovative, but don’t be greedy or desperate as the government is waiting to pounce.”