If you are of a certain age and live in the UK, you probably remember getting your milk delivered by a milk cart, and perhaps even buying meat from the butchers instead of Tesco’s. The face of the average high street certainly won’t have Blockbuster videos in a decade’s time, and perhaps only a few record stores.
Since ’61 Joe Coral and his pals have been offering hospitality and in exchange for some money a counter foil betting slip. These glorious dens of iniquity, or leisure palaces (depending on your philosophy!) look set to fade away as the next few years pass.
An interesting prediction, you would perhaps say? After all there are still 8,500 betting shops taking punts. It could be pointed out that the “turf accountants” survived the rise of Internet punting.
Well FOBT’s certainly helped, but anyhow why do I think betting shops will be dwindling to a few key locations only? The reason is simple. A lot of bets are impulsive, and let’s face it a sizeable percentage of successful betting shops are next to pubs. I’m not saying people bet when they are pissed, but that a beer with the lads and a quick bet next door often go together.
Pints and Punting
My local William Hill is identified under the shop name “Cavalier”, named after the adjacent boozer. The average Joe Punter isn’t going to run home and fire up his PC and then login to place his acca, before running back to finish his now flat pint.
However with iPhones de rigueur among bright young things, and Android technology becoming the norm on all new phones, mobile betting is only going to grow and grow. At current we have reviewed a good few apps in the sportsbook’s guide section of this site, some are good, plenty are pretty average. However this technology is getting better, and quicker.
When betting apps are technologically where they should be, and loaded on mobiles carried in the pockets of all, then this will be the time when bookies begin to fade away. The lure of betting with “folding” will still appeal to some, but a generation will have their first (and regular bets) on phones. This bunch won’t have to leave the pub to have a bet, nor give up five minutes of lunch to visit the bookies.
It’s a shame, despite having spent almost every weekend as a kid at the racetracks of the South (as well as countless evenings at Catford, Wimbledon and Hove dogs) I never started punting until I was 18. Where did I start this life-changing journey? In a smoky independent bookies (called Bloxhams), and my first punt on Earth Summit (at 7/1 for the Grand National) was placed over a betting shop counter. I kind of hope I’m wrong!