While all the focus has been on pubs and restaurants being allowed to serve inside once again in the
United Kingdom on May 17, gamblers up and down the country have welcomed the reopening of
betting shops and casino.
High street bookmakers and casinos have been one of the forgotten industries in the pandemic and
subsequent lockdowns, with both relying exclusively on footfall and in-person visits.
While shops, bars, restaurants and other vital services have been open since March or April,
bookmakers and casinos have fallen into the same sector as theatres, gyms and swimming pools.
That has all changed as of May 17 with fitness fanatics able to get back in the pool, gym lovers able
to hit the treadmills, exercise bikes and weights once again, and theatre goers able to book tickets
And significantly for betting industry – including racecourses with the return of public onto the track
once again, bookmakers and casinos have been able to open their doors to customers who have
missed betting directly in person.
While bookmakers and casinos have been forced to close their doors, there has been a boom among
new customers turning to online gambling via betting sites apps and online casinos filled with their
favourite games and tables.
The availability of sports betting, live betting, virtual betting and casino and poker rooms via one app
was something locked down punters appeared to enjoy.
BetWinner, which offers the promo code NEWBONUS, were one of the big winners with a global
offering available in all but a handful of countries worldwide. With most of the globe lockdown, the
number of BetWinner users increased.
A study led by the University of Bristol found that online gambling grew by around 600 per cent
during lockdown for regular customers, with online poker, bingo, and casino games accounting for
the biggest growth.
Research from the GB Gambling Commission also reported that eSports, games played between two
computer or console users or teams of players, saw the biggest increase in terms of sports betting.
That was largely put down to more eSports events than ever before being live streamed with
everything from football to basketball and ice hockey to Starcraft. Betting on live streamed events,
which punters can see happening, is greater than non-streamed.
The results of the study has led to calls for tighter governance of online gambling to protect the
growing audience, particularly where there is a correlation between drinking and placing bets –
which the study found an increase in.
“As gambling habits shift online, vulnerable groups including children and adults who drink heavily
may be more easily sucked into these channels,” said Agnes Nairn, Professor of Marketing at the
University of Bristol’s School of Management, and co-author of the study.
“The increased prevalence of home working is also an important consideration for future policy
making, as the temptation to gamble online, amplified by clever advertising, is always there.”
Bookmakers will be worried that the move online could turn into something more permanent, but
for now they will be simply glad to be able to welcome bettors back into shops and casinos once
again and restore some form of normality.