The fate of the gambling industry in Wales as a whole has been talked about for some time. With 24% of Welsh customers reporting that they spend more time and money on wagering, it’s clear that the internet has changed the way people place bets.
But the idea that the health of the digital sector will destroy traditional betting outlets and operators in Wales doesn’t appear to be true. In reality, the online markets appear to be necessary for the wellbeing of the entire industry, including physical shops and brick-and-mortar casinos.
Exposure Is Good for All Parties
An imbalance does exist between in-person and remote wagering. To put it into perspective, in 2020 in the UK, a massive 96% of people said they gambled at home. Compared to any other venue, gambling from home was the most popular form of betting. In 2019, the situation was the same as the figure was minimally lower (95%).
Several factors allow internet operators to raise their exposure among customers, whether in Wales or the rest of the UK. A prime example is the rise of digital mediums. The majority of brands now advertise on TV, through social media channels, or directly to consumers by sending SMS messages or emails. As a result, people are usually aware of a brand’s online presence. Another reason for a surge in internet betting is the proliferation of welcome packages and loyalty offers. From sportsbooks to casino services, a significant player within the industry will offer added value to encourage users to register or remain loyal. The best casino bonuses and sports gambling bonuses are eclectic to ensure there is a promo for everybody interested in gambling, from Bet & Get to Deposit & Get and deposit matches. Even no-deposit deals exist where signing up is enough to trigger freebies.
However, a singular strategy isn’t powerful enough according to the data. For instance, nearly 50% of SMEs in the UK in 2019 had physical shops, while 58% used online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay. This shows that a blended customer experience is critical because consumers expect a certain level of flexibility. It’s already easy to see in the gambling world since websites and apps solve issues by making in-store services available, such as depositing and withdrawing money at casino cages.
Betting Shops Aren’t Being Left Behind
Anecdotal evidence suggests that betting shops in Wales are struggling. Many are boarded up and not operational any longer, or so the story goes. The good news is, there are just as much data to highlight that gambling providers in the Principality have solid futures ahead of them. The most powerful is 888’s recent acquisition of William Hill’s European business from Caesars Entertainment, including 1,400 UK William Hill betting shops.
William Hill is a big brand, especially in Wales, yet it has experienced a few problems of late. In 2020, the company’s total net revenue dropped by 57% in April, leaving the long-term health of traditional gambling premises in the balance. This was made worse by the fact that Caesars Entertainment made it very clear it was only bothered about the US market when it finalised the William Hill deal earlier in 2021. Instead of being sold off, leaving 888 to focus solely on the online side of things, the business confirmed they are going to invest in the shops and make them a staple of the customer experience.
888 can do this based on the demand for its internet solutions. The business positions itself as a leader in online gaming operations, something that’s highlighted by the number of offers and promotions it publishes. Without a profitable digital arm, the business wouldn’t be able to afford to snap up William Hill International, and 1,400 physical premises would fall by the wayside.
Entain Holds Strong
On the flip side of things, MGM Resorts attempted to make a similar move to Caesars Entertainment by absorbing Entain. The name may not mean much to you, but the brands it owns, such as Ladbrokes and Coral, popular operators in Wales, will do. Unlike the Caesars deal, MGM backed out at the last minute.
That means Entain’s operators will remain in British hands, as will the physical premises they run. The even better news is that MGM has been banned from making another approach within the next six months. So, the parent company won’t be changing allegiances any time soon, and Welsh gamers and bettors don’t need to fret about the loss of major economic contributors.
888 has shown that the future is British. For punters, this is a good thing as brands with a background in the UK understand the cultural and societal importance of maintaining the status quo.
The online gambling industry will help operators in Wales. And, as long as it stays within British hands, the future should be very bright for everyone involved, especially customers.