As a specialist gambling consultancy, GBGC is always on the look-out for signals that point to the health of the gambling sector and developing trends. One such indirect indicator is the changing focus of the sector’s trade magazines and the signals are not good for retail betting.

The September 2017 edition of Betting Business interactive is now titled iGaming Times. The reason is given as “moving with the industry, a resonance with the market”. It was back in September 2010 that the word “interactive” began appearing on the Betting Business masthead. The then editor explained “we have widened the net to also cover developments in the igaming arena…any successful bookmaker will either already be involved in this sector or be planning to enter it soon”.

Previously it was “Betting Business interactive”, now it is “iGaming Times incorporating Betting Business”. The pupil has become the master?

Betting Business is not the first trade magazine to recognise where the future lies for retail betting, at least in the UK. Betview magazine, which focused on the UK betting shop sector, went from a monthly to a quarterly publication in 2013. But despite the quarterly switch, the Autumn 2013 edition had only half the pages of its final monthly edition. Betview is no longer published.

Similarly, BOS Magazine (Bookmakers Office Supplies) ceased its print edition in December 2015 after 34 years. It switched to a quarterly, digital-only edition.

All publishers take commercial decisions about the sources of advertising they can attract and the demographic those advertisers wish to reach. In the UK, the falling number of licensed betting operators and betting shops has reduced the potential readership interested in retail betting topics and services.

Globally, in 2011 retail betting represented 69% of global betting gross win. In 2016 GBGC estimates its share had fallen to around 60% in US$ currency. Of course, one decision that could stimulate the retail betting sector would be the removal of the sports betting ban in the US and the development of a US retail sport betting sector.