In 1960, the landscape of betting within the UK changed for the better as The British administration introduced the Betting and Gaming Act that permitted betting shops to start operating across the nation starting 1 May 1961. It hasn’t been the same since.
How It All Began
The first betting shops opened on the five-month’s first day 55 years ago, and they continued to open up at 100 each week. In the six months following the new laws taking effect there were 10,000 betting establishments in operation. The face of the gambling industry in the UK changed over the course of a couple of months.
The bookmakers who received licenses to operate within the UK by the Racecourse Betting Control Board were allowed to accept bets at “tote odds” which was when the the bet made was divided into winning bets.
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The hope was that the new rules could assist in getting gambling illegal off the streets and eradicate the practice that bookmakers employ of sending runners on physical tracks to collect money owed by gamblers. This practice contributed to illegal acts and extortion that must be eliminated.
At the time of the act’s passage, the only way gamblers could place a bet on off-course was by proving that they had enough credit to set up a new account with a bookmaker and then placing bets over the phone.
Betting Becoming Mainstream
Most likely, the biggest change that happened under the law reforms was that gambling changed from being a dark and taboo thing to a more socially accepted recreation. It went from being a nebulous activity to the mainstream.
Betting shops were a secure and secure place where punters could place their bets without being involved in a criminal ring, that was frequent during the time when betting wasn’t regulated on the streets.
There was a little stigma associated with betting shops. The establishments had to lighten their windows, and they were not permitted to promote themselves or advertise. But, they were in the open and betting activities were now closely monitored, which made gambling an extremely popular sport as it was prior to the 1960s.
Ladbrokes and William Hill were the two most prominent names in the 1960s. Their expansion during that time was revolutionary. They were able to take over some small betting shop businesses like Fred Parkinson, JJ Simonds and Ken Munden. They appealed to the middle classes and established the tone for the industry which would remain in place for the next fifty years.
Through the Dark and into the Light
The situation remained relatively the same until 1986. A change in gambling laws saw betting shops being granted permission to overhaul their design and interior. The betting shops will no longer be seen as dark and uninspiring locations. They now can serve hot and cold beverages, paint their walls, provide seating, and put up televisions.
This era of betting saw four brands take firm control over the market. William Hill and Ladbrokes continued to lead the pack, but they were soon joined by the titans from Coral and Mecca in the new era of gambling hit the UK.
It was these four brands which were the cause of one of the most significant modifications to the gambling laws which would affect punters directly. The bookies pressed the government to abolish the tax on individual bets. The tax was set at 10 percent on winnings. It took years of lobbying from the bookies to persuade the government to remove the tax. In 2002, every effort resulted in the tax being eliminated and ended up being eliminated. It was a significant moment with many other countries and regions still having similar taxes.
It’s the Dawn of the Premier League
Another landmark event for betting shops across the UK was the emergence of the Premier League in 1992. The new branding of the top league in English football , not only completely transformed the game through the use of television rights money, giving clubs the chance to buy better players of the highest quality and to upgrade their facilities However, it was an important change for betting across the nation as more people than ever began to wager on football.
Only punters from UK UK were initially permitted to bet on Premier League games and originally it was stipulated that punters were required to place minimum three bets. But the rules were changed after a short period of time, and betting on only single games was granted the green sign.
It was the first step of taking betting shops into new territory. A growing interest in and love for the Premier League led to a desire for more betting markets. The introduction of online gambling made bookmakers able to satisfy the demand of gamblers for betting on each and every little detail in games such as corners, yellow cards, the amount of goals being scored, or even throwing-ins. This spread to betting shops, which also needed to offer the same market in their shops.
It has gone on to spread across the globe , extending to different markets, not just within football but within other sports. It has led to the introduction of betting in-play and cash out. The introduction of those two features hasn’t only been a hit online, but also in the bookmakers and betting shops, as well. have done their best to ensure that their customers who reside in the area don’t miss out on the advantages that online customers enjoy.
The year 2001 witnessed some of the biggest debated new technologies that hit betting shops. The electromechanical systems called fixed-odds gambling terminals (FOBTs) were put into operation and the debate about how harmful they can be to both punters and the industry continues to be a hot topic ever since.
The minimum bet on the machines should be PS1 however, the maximum single payoff cannot exceed the PS500 mark. The speed with which gamblers can bet has been the major focus of controversy regarding the machines, with some claiming that it creates gambling addiction. It can also destroy entire communities by luring players in.
It was also claimed that the machines were used for money laundering. It was claimed that cash was paid into machines using low-risk bets placed. The winnings would then be paid out in a voucher that would then be exchanged to cash at the betting shop counter.
The term “crack cocaine” is used to describe”the “crack cocaine of gambling” Bookmakers eventually decided to take action in 2014. Under the umbrella of the Association of British Bookmakers made the decision to allow gamblers to set their own time and money limits for FOBTs.
The turn to the turn of century bookmakers began to offer online sites for punters to place bets on the internet , without having to leave the comfort of their own home. It led to change in the management of business by many of the top-of-the-line branded betting shops.
One of the first pioneers of it was Victor Chandler. The eponymous bookmaker made the decision to move all of his operations offshore to Gibraltar. The move shifted their customers betting offshore, which made the bets tax-free. That was a major reason for the British administration changing its position regarding taxation of gambling. On December 1, 2014 the Gambling (Licensing and Advertising) Bill resulted in the taxation of online gambling was changed from a ‘place of supply and a place of consumption. This meant that offshore bookies would no longer exempt from the wrath of UK tax laws.
The law continues to impact betting shops today. A number of the biggest bookmakers with brand names have been forced to join in conjunction with Betfair and Paddy Power leading the huge mergers. Ladbrokes as well as Coral are two other bookmakers that are at the centre of a proposed merger but have been told that they have to sell betting outlets if the deal is to be finalized. This is a trend which is bound to get more common in the future as bookmakers must deal with the financial burden of the new tax laws imposed by the British government.
Recent figures also suggested an increase in the worth of gambling shops, which is decreasing. The value of betting shops was believed to have reached a record high in 2005 when William Hill bought out Stanley’s betting shops at a price of around PS807,000 per shop. It was recently speculated that Boylesports was planning to buy 360 gambling shops at Ladbrokes and Coral at the cost of PS277,000 per shop. The worth of the betting shops is definitely down a lot if those estimates are true.
The Future in Their Hands
Gambling online has had a huge negative impact on gambling shops. Recent changes to the law adds additional pressures on the bookmakers to be able to adapt to their new surroundings. This could mean merging with competitors or providing a more sophisticated location to keep their land-based ventures modernized.
The betting shops may take the lead of casinos who have seen their physical premises be impacted by the growth of casinos online. The customer experience within betting shops will be an important factor for bookmakers in their efforts to stop the possibility of betting shops being shut down since betting on sports online continues to increase.
It is an issue that has no sign of being resolved with the advent of mobile gaming as an inevitable next move. If the bookmakers come up with more creative and ingenious ways to draw the punters in then the future of the betting stores will be the same as they have but these are troubling times for betting shops. In the present, there’s 9,000 shops in the UK so they remain commonplace however that could change very quickly with data showing that the number of betting shops in the UK has dropped by 43% since the year 1970. It is possible that they are not extinct, but they’re on the brink of becoming endangered.