Apparently the economy marginally fell back into recession this quarter, the news is a bit grim, but to be honest we are used to it now! The economy in my opinion seems to be in an L shaped recession, and it will take a couple of years to see the sunlight again.
Anyhow, I digress. On a positive the amount of betting shops on our high street has risen from 8862 to 9067 between 2009 and 2011.
The majority of the market share is held by the big five retail firms, these being: PaddyPower, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Corals and Betfred
However this doesn’t point to a resurgence of the traditional betting mediums of horse and dog racing, instead it underlines the increased reliance on FOBT terminals. These FOBT terminals are mainly used for roulette and in the same time that the number of betting shops increased by 350 odd, the amount of FOBT terminals went up from 16,000 to 32,000! In tandem the actual numbers of betting shop staff has fallen. This is because roulette machines are less staff intensive, but raises a serious issue of security for shop staff.
Indeed from the left of the political spectrum there has been vocal critiques of the new trend towards High Street roulette machine filled bookies.
Harriet Harman on Betting Shops:
Speaking of her constituency of Peckman Harman said:
“One thing I’ve done since I came into this post is focussed on what’s happening on the high streets in low income areas, wanting to make sure they don’t become blighted by too many betting shops that are becoming like mini casinos,”
The paper detailing her objections (and a picture of a Corals betting shop!) can be found on HarrietHarman.org.
David Lammy (Tottenham MP) has also written some voracious stuff, mainly in the pages of the Guardian. This includes:
We have grown accustomed to the idea that schoolchildren should walk past five or six betting shops between their school and the bus stop. Or that sporting coverage should be punctuated by adverts with “live” odds, inviting viewers to gamble on the outcome. Our distance from the problem can give comfort. Many of us gamble, but mainly online, over the telephone, or we fill in a lottery slip at the corner shop without being confronted by problem gambling. The insides of every new betting shop are a mystery.
The garish colours splashed across the front of bookmakers’ shops block the depression that lies behind the plastic advertising boards. The penniless young men glued to virtual roulette wheels while others queue are invisible to the passing public. You’re prevented from seeing the desperation of men surrounded by scrunched up, worthless betting slips that represent their afternoon’s endeavours.
Betting Shops coffin nails are Galaxy and iPhone?
My views are as always my own. I feel that problem gamblers will gamble whether there is a betting shop on their highstreet or not, the same as problem drinkers and pubs, and morbidly obese people and fast food. Going forward I can’t help but feel that the whole issue will be one of far lesser significance in the next decade as more and more of us get smart phones as standard. I personally love to bet by phone and have a page of bookie apps. My individual mobile punting will only get more frequent as the technology gets better. I have previously blogged about the difficulty in getting a working 3G signal on-course, and once again at Sandown on Saturday I really struggled. In fact, it was impossible for me to access successfully any online bookies despite getting 4/5 bars of reception with Vodafone. Interestingly my friends HTC Galaxy (on O2) accessed Bet365 very swfitly, so I am not sure if it is an iPhone issue?
When smart phones get their act in gear, and become the standard level of phone, then surely the betting shops days are further numbered.