Number of betting shops on British high-streets declining

Registers of businesses held by the Office for National Statistics have shown that the number of betting shops on UK high-streets is in decline.

A UK high-street

The number of betting shops in the UK has fallen by 4% since 2010. © Pexels.

This is contrary to one popular anti-gambling narrative that claims betting shops have been taking over high-streets in the UK for many years.

In Wigan, figures show that there are now 65 gambling outlets in the area, which is down from 70 in 2010.

In Bournemouth and Poole, the numbers have stayed constant. There are 40 shops in Bournemouth and 20 in Poole, which is the same as the 2010 figure.

Overall, there are 11,370 gambling shops in the UK, which is 4% less than the 2010 figure.

Industry figures have blamed the fall on the rise of online betting over the last ten years, along with increasing rent costs. Last year, one third of the industry’s total profit came from online revenue.

More outlets to close after FOBT ruling

The ruling that fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBT) stakes were to be slashed from £100 to a maximum £2 rocked the industry earlier this year.

However, while the number of betting shops is declining, the effects are yet to be fully felt. Experts, like the Association of British Bookmakers, are predicting a massive impact upon profits and jobs in the industry:

We anticipate that between 3,000 and 4,000 betting shops will close on high streets and in town centres across the country by 2020. As a result, 15,000 to 20,000 high street jobs could be lost. High street betting shops also face similar issues to other retailers, like competition from other forms of gambling, and the increasing costs of rent and business rates.Statement, Association of British Bookmakers

Operators themselves are backing up these figures. Betfred has warned that 900 shops would be unable to operate at a profit and 4,500 jobs would be lost in the result of their closure, due to the FOBT ruling.

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