What Has Changed for Punters as Betting Shops Reopen

by Karina Chen Last Updated
betting shop image

The UK’s high street bookmakers are back open for business following the latest stage of coronavirus lockdown being eased, but casinos must wait a month longer to get back to business.

Stage 2 of the roadmap out of lockdown has seen bookies open their doors after a long winter closed to customers, many of whom have turned to online sports betting in the meantime.

But the bookmaker experience is set to be very different this spring as shop owners implement in-store restrictions decreed by the government. Punters will have to follow these UK betting rules when placing bets or visiting casinos:

  • Only eight customers max allowed in the shop
  • Time limit per customer in the shop
  • No chairs
  • No live sport on TVs
  • Maximum of two gambling machines in operation
  • Customers can visit just twice a day
  • Shops close at 8 pm

Casinos aren’t due to open until 17 May and similar restrictions are thought to be in the pipeline. However, players who prefer casinos to sports betting can still play thousands of online casino slot games like Reel King Mega from Casino Lab.

UK bookmaker rules

As the rules above indicate, the experience for millions of sports betting fans is set to be different as the UK slowly comes out of lockdown. The COVID-19 regulations in place mean players are less likely to remain in betting shops once they have placed and collected their bets, as live sport will not be screened on TVs.

This could greatly impact horse racing betting as the sport relies heavily on punters watching races in high street shops.

What’s more, the restriction to just two gambling machines – which are already under FOBT bet limits – and the number of visits per day means the opportunity for profit and enjoyment in betting shops has been greatly reduced.

Players moving to online betting

Players are therefore likely to remain committed to online betting rather than hitting the high street, as the full variety of bets, promotions and live streams are available on casino apps and websites.

Furthermore, the number of UK betting shops is expected to dramatically decrease over the coming year. Ladbrokes and Coral are already set to cut as many as 10% of their 3,000 stores from the high street thanks to the success of attracting players to online betting.

More than 460 betting shops closed in the UK last year – with many of those feeling the effects of two nationwide coronavirus lockdowns. It is thought as many as 12,000 jobs are at risk from future closures.

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