The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has expressed that the latest statistics from the Gambling Commission display “very bad news” for the future of British betting shops.
The Gambling Commission revealed that there are now 8,502 betting shops in the UK, a fall of almost 4% within the last six months and a number that represents a continual decline in betting shops, with numbers being at the lowest they have been since the Commission began recording these results in 2009.
Malcolm George, Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers commented: “The pace at which betting shops are closing is very bad news for the future of a retailer that has been a fixture of the high street for over 55 years.
“The government are currently consulting on gaming machines in betting shops. Any significant change in regulation could lead to over half of all shops closing and the loss of a further 21,000 jobs while doing nothing to address problem gambling.”
The statistics also stated that the number of people employed within the gambling industry decreased by 1% since March 2016 to 106,236.
Furthermore, the Commission detailed that the number of gaming machines in the country hads risen to 182,916, a figure the ABB identified as worrying because it coincided with the closure of betting shops, which subsequently meant the loss of 1,043 FOBTs. Therefore, the rise in gaming machines could be attributed to other venues such as arcades.
In spite of the closure of betting shops, growth of remote sector gaming will be cited as the reason that the overall yield of the gambling industry was £13.7 bn, increasing 1.8% from the corresponding results of the previous year.