Betting shops are a type of brick and mortar gambling establishment that offer an array of sports betting options. They also provide customers with a wide variety of promotions and other benefits.
The first legal betting shop opened in the UK in 1961 and by the end of the decade, there were over 16,000 shops spread across the country. These were operated by local bookmakers who took advantage of the legalization of the market that came with the passing of the Betting and Gaming Act in 1960.
Aside from the enabling legislation, the physical environment and service offered by betting shops changed dramatically during this period as well. The spartan and austere environments that had been the norm were replaced with more inviting places, providing information about horse racing as well as more advanced betting facilities.
These changes led to a dramatic rise in popularity of betting shops and their customers. Unlike their online counterparts, betting shops could process and pay out bets quickly, efficiently and reliably.
The next step in this evolution was the introduction of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) into the betting scene. These electromechanical devices allowed punters to place bets without the need to leave the shop.
FOBTs have been a source of much debate and controversy. Some punters claim that they are a form of gambling addiction while others argue that they can help people learn to set money and time limits.
Despite their legal restrictions, betting shops remain deeply embedded in UK society. Many are located near conventional buildings and businesses, such as grocery stores, restaurants and government offices. nearest