Monday June 11, 2012 : IRISH PUNTERS PREFER CASH
Betting shops preferred to online wagering, says bookie
The largest independent bookmaking firm in Northern Ireland, McLean's, says that punters still choose to wager in betting shops rather than online because they prefer the comfort and immediacy of cash payouts.
The company bases its comment on recent research it commissioned with Ipsos MORI, which sampled 700 respondents set by age, gender, social class and region.
The survey showed:
* Bookmakers are still the number one choice for punters placing bets in Northern Ireland.
* Betting has surged during the Euro 2012 football championship, with SP shops four times more popular than online gambling because clients prefer to be paid in cash.
* There are around 330 officially recognised bookmaking offices in Northern Ireland. But nearly two-thirds of the entire industry is independently owned.
* Gambling on horse racing and soccer results are the big attraction.
* The gambling sector as a whole is struggling due to the economic downturn and the restrictive nature of Northern Ireland gambling laws, exacerbated by an upsurge in remote gambling, according to a DSD consultation.
* In Northern Ireland, punters prefer local bookmakers, compared to multinationals with offices in Northern Ireland.
Paul McLean, managing director of McLean's, told the UK Press Association: "Despite a perception of the growth of online betting the majority of punters still prefer to have a flutter in betting offices as many people like to bet and get paid in cash. It is a statistic which indicates there remains a strong rationale for the presence of the betting shop in the high street."
The UKPA reports that Northern Ireland's Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood, is considering changes to the law, strengthening the regulatory regime while easing restrictions on the industry's development. These may include allowing bookies to open on Sundays, but also might carry with it provisions for minimising problem gambling including a levy on the industry and social responsibility requirements.