David Newstead – The death & rebirth of the betting shop machine

David Newstead

With the rise of online sports betting and the proliferation of high end, multi-function gaming cabinets, will betting shops as we know them soon cease to exist? Igaming games and product developer David Newstead  Probability Jones examines the current state of affairs….

Are betting shops changing? A couple of decades ago, turf accountant shops were smoky dens, full of small disposable pens, disgruntled looking men and plastic tea cups. Now go into any establishment and you’ll notice one big change. The addition of gaming cabinets is certainly one that has not gone unnoticed. Like all successful ventures these machines have attracted a large degree of opposition due to their popularity. There have even been stories of certain companies opening two shops on either side of a town’s local high street to capture the maximum amount of traffic. Are we going to see the end of bookmakers as we have traditionally known them in favour of cabinet dominating mini-casinos?

The Rise of the Multifunctional Machine

Back in the day gambling machines were fairly primitive, failing to offer gamblers the choice of wagers available in the sports betting markets or on table games like Blackjack and Roulette. Through the unstoppable march of technology gaming cabinets now deliver a range of titles including all the green baize backed casino classic as well as slot game favourites like Rainbow Riches Pots of Gold and the legendary Cleopatra. With such a choice delivering instant gaming gratification, each terminal is like a mini-casino in its own right. Is it any wonder that players are moving away from the old conventional types of gambling available in bookmakers towards these new systems?

Online Sports Betting – Bet In Play Now

Betting on big sports events from the comfort of your own home was always going to be a big draw for many casual and serious gamblers. Over time it’s no surprise that the technology has risen to support this practice with the emergence of both in-play and extended markets. Smartphone betting apps allow the placement of wagers from any location where a user can get sufficient coverage to achieve an internet connection. This technology even facilitates functionality that would not have been possible in conventional betting shops such as the increasingly popular cash out feature. Is it any wonder with these new sports betting systems that some of the services of betting shops are becoming redundant?

The Best Indicator of the Future…

Are mini-casinos really that new? Following the video game boom of the 1980s when powerful home consoles such as the MegaDrive and SNES appeared on the scene, coin-op game revenues truly plummeted. This forced many an arcade owner to rethink their strategy, replacing their video cabinets with the highly popular multi-function fruit machines. For a time during the 1990s these high street gaming palaces saw large amounts of foot traffic, attracting an audience looking for a greater choice of game than they could find at their local pub.


The Terminal Solution

There is no reason why sports betting cannot become a terminal game. With the power of the existing technology it would be a simple task for gaming machine makers to place a money input and output device on an internet browsing tablet. This would give users the ability to place bets in the same way as a web user without signing up for an account. The only personnel then needed in a high street gambling outlet would be the security guards required to look after the gaming devices.

In conclusion it appears like the only think stopping the arrival of mini-casinos is government legislation. Demand for gaming machines has never been higher and the possibility of completely automated outlets is surely only a matter of years away. With the high street and online sales increasingly converging, perhaps the only way for bookmakers to survive as we once new them is for them to embrace the technology on offer. By combining their traditional products with new forms of delivery there is no reason why these outlets should not be able to adapt to the future.


David Newstead  – Founder – Probability Jones 


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