With bookies falling under the “non-essential” retails category during lockdown, traders flutter online
Since the start of the pandemic, online trading has witnessed a spike. Owners of Ladbrokes and Coral have warned that up to 300 of their 3,000 shops could close for business by the end of the year.
Owners of Ladbrokes and Coral, Entain, in its annual results published last week said that online earnings spiked to 50% after users shifted to bets on smartphones and computers during the pandemic.
The red flag came about when the company posted profits of £174.7million in 2020, when compared to the previous year there was a significant loss of £164.4million.
Chief Financial Officer of Entain, also expressed his concern but is expecting most customers to return to stores once lockdown restrictions ease.
‘We are hopeful that most of our customers will come back. There may be more closures but no fundamental restructuring.”
Online operators will have to rethink their models and encourage small to medium spend clients, those who are normally residing in the shops they are closing – Richard Hogg
Richard Hogg, an industry veteran, expressed to SiGMA News: Bookmakers have been around for many years, and as a great believer in maintaining the high street, where bookmakers have become part of the culture, I firmly believe there is still a place for them in some format. These are institutions where people have the chance to communicate to like-minded individuals and exchange views and place bets in a fair, safe and regulated environment.
Over the past years we have witnessed a lot of mergers and acquisitions. This is clearly killing the competitiveness touch with everything being owned by a select group, thus one company will be reluctant to have multiple premises in the same location even if they are under different brands. They will see an opportunity to cut costs.
Customer needs in this day and age is constantly changing and this is what they have to be aware of. They have to bear in mind the change and adapt to it. In the U.K. we used to have “corner shops” owned mainly by members of the Asian communities.
Once the supermarket giants arrived, they decimated those businesses. However, they have re-emerged as small local versions of the supermarkets clearly highlighting the demand never actually left. Similarly we have seen the “greasy spoon” café’s re-emerge as coffee shops, predominantly offering the same service. A hot drink and food.
The UKGC’s random and mainly unchallenged attacks on online operators with unsubstantiated and inconsistent fines is causing online bookies to ask for unreasonable amounts of information from customers. I for one am not willing to provide unknown individuals with my personal funds information and such I now have zero online accounts. The high street is my only option!
Given we know online operators take most of their earnings from VIP clients and these VIP clients will be unwilling to provide such levels of KYC maybe the online operators will have to rethink their models and encourage small to medium spend clients, those who are normally residing in the shops they are closing.
Mergers and Acquisitions:
William Hill, which is being bought by US casino giant Caesars Group in a £2.9b deal said its profits plummeted 91% to £9.1m as its 1,414 betting shops were hit by repeated lockdowns and disruption to sporting events. This acquisition follows Caesars’ other acquisition by Eldorado Resorts in a £12.47b reverse-merger deal. With this acquisition Caesar’s will see 55 casino under its helm.
Betting shops in the UK are looking to reopen on April 12 as Prime Minister Johnson revealed his roadmap out of lockdown last month.
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