The aspect of remote betting often seems complicated, but it’s not. Instead, it contrasts what people used to do back before technological advances ruled the world. How so? Take bingo as an example. For a long time, it was (and still is) a favorite pastime for many people. They would meet in bingo halls, try their luck, socialize, and head home, having worked on their cognitive skills. And when online sites like Tickety bingo came about, they were now able to do all these things from their home, ergo remote betting. It is pretty much the ability to stake on anything without being physically present, i.e., near your bookie.
And while people often refer to remote betting as online betting, it is an umbrella that also extends to betting via:
- Telephones, e.g., calling in to place a wager,
- Televisions, and
Did you know that? It is quite a vast field, and, in this guide, we look at what gamblers in the UK can expect in the coming decades:
What Will Change?
Before getting into what’s about to change in the UK market, we must acknowledge that it is one of the most developed betting markets. Why is that?
- The market involves a lot of regulation which instills trust among players who know that they can enjoy the rights accorded to them,
- The market has access to some of the largest bookies in the world. Interestingly, while most of these sites are present in other nations, too, the UK makes up a considerable chunk of their revenue streams, and
- People have been gambling for a long time in this market, and the number of people playing online games or betting continues to grow. Based on 2012 figures, the UK made up 8% of the world’s gambling population, in a global economy worth £21 billion.
As such, the UK betting and gaming market is already quite mature, unlike most other regions. It makes sense that changes would be underway to capitalize on its size and maturity. So, what’s in the works?
Mobile Betting is Sure to Increase
In recent years, more people have become accustomed to transacting on their phones. They use them for work, school, and even social activities. And betting operators, having noticed this, have catered to this need in two ways:
- Mobile Web Browsers: In the past, most gaming websites would not load well on smartphones. The pages were slow and not easy to navigate nor visually appealing. Operators are now working on pages designed to load on smartphones, tablets, and other devices that are not the typical desktops. And that has increased the number of people who now have access to gaming opportunities.
- Mobile Gaming and Betting Apps: How many apps do you have on your phone? Like most people, you probably have at least 5 that you often use. Operators realized that people enjoyed the convenience of not having to use mobile browsers. And they created apps where people can play, load their accounts, and even cash out when they win. Of course, such convenience has only been a plus.
Let’s not forget that many people joining e-sports start by practicing on their phones before investing in headgear and other accessories to take their gaming to the next level.
Retail Betting Will Suffer a Hit
This point relates to the first one. Now that more people will have access to mobile phones to sign up on betting sites, place wagers, and follow up on their wins, fewer people will need retail betting services. This change is especially notable in the middle and lower socio-economic groups, where mobile phone uptake has increased. The uptake has now exceeded 60%. People running such shops will likely need to level up their services to offer more than the norm. Else, they could end up closing shop. After all, gamers now have the following remote betting options:
- Desktops and laptops,
- Gaming consoles,
- Interactive televisions, and
- Smart televisions.
Mobile phones are now giving laptops and desktops a run for their money, proving to be more convenient. However, retail operators are now working on converging mobile gaming and retail betting to allow them to remain afloat and turn a profit.
Compliance and Monitoring Costs Will Increase
Given the high level of regulation in the UK market, it is no surprise that bookies must factor regulatory costs into their pricing. The coming years will see the regulators taxing the bookies more, and this will affect the market in the following ways:
- Smaller bookies with less capital and less market share will likely get phased out owing to the higher operational costs,
- Bookies will need to become more innovative when setting their odds and pricing. They cannot afford to pass on the taxes to the consumers as this would make them less attractive. Instead, they might cut back on promotions to remain competitive. However, doing so in such a cutthroat market might not work as some bookies may use free bets to differentiate themselves and stand out from the fray.
- More bookies will scale down their marketing to reduce their operational costs.
Bookies have also expressed concerns as to the entry of illegal operators. Since licensed bookies in the UK will be subject to higher taxation, they will be on the losing end when the unlicensed bookies enter the market as the latter will have more disposable capital. However, many people have quelled this concern by citing that most people in the UK would rather bet with licensed bookies as it is the safer option.
More bookies have been keen on using social media marketing to reach millennials and gen Zs who make up quite a chunk of their market. With marketing efforts taking a dip, relying on word of mouth has become essential.