By Owain Flanders
Gambling consultant Steve Donoughue believes UK retail sports betting will see a lasting impact after the COVID-19 crisis subsides.
Speaking with Gambling Insider for the May/June edition of its magazine, Donoughue explained that while all changes in betting behaviour during the COVID-19 pandemic had the potential to be permanent, the shift away from customers physically visiting betting shops could have a lasting impact for retail-reliant operators.
He said: “Land-based is going to suffer as people will switch to online and may never return.
“Land-based depends on people making a visit to their venue as part of their regular schedule. Once that stops being regular, things will change.”
When asked if retail sports betting had the potential to recover post-COVID, Donoughue said he thinks this is doubtful.
He explained: “I can’t see it going back to the way it was. There will always be a market for retail sports betting. But will it be one that is sufficient for the number of shops we have now? I doubt it.
“I predict a 50% drop over the next few years.”
Despite this outlook, Donoughue had some inspirational advice for sports betting operators in the UK.
“Keep your nerve,” Donoughue urged. “We will get through this. Sport will return.
"Be innovative but don’t be greedy or desperate as the Government is waiting to pounce.”
The full feature will appear in the May/Jun edition of Gambling Insider magazine. Click here to read when available.