Punters in Northern Ireland are still drawn to bookmakers over online gambling industry sites. A new survey conducted on behalf of McLean’s by Ipsos MORI showed that four times more people prefer going down the bookies to place a bet than doing so online as clients prefer an immediate cash payment to having to wait for their wonga.
Paul McLean, managing director of McLean’s, Northern Ireland’s largest independent bookmaking group, commented: “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 survey took in the views of 700 punters and also showed that many of the country’s bettors were loyal to local firms over multi-national companies that have set up in the country. Two of thirds of the country’s 330 bookmakers are run independently with the rest owned by Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power. One thing that could detract from the survey results is the fact a land-based company asked for it to be undertaken and therefore the people surveyed might not have a particularly favorable view of online gaming.
It comes as the country’s government is considering changing legislation on the gambling industry to help it battle the current recession. Among the changes muted by various stakeholders are to allow bookmakers to open on Sunday’s and for legal poker clubs to be set up. Some in Northern Ireland are also pushing the UK government to help better regulate the online gaming market and in the coming months it will be interesting to see which direction they go in.