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What Is The Future Of Telebetting After Legacy Service Terminated By Bet365

no phoneBet365, the Stoke-On-Trent based gambling company, have decided to close their telephone betting service, which was a long-running operation for the business. The decision was based on the fact that is has declined so much in usage that it has almost become obsolete. The service had been offered by Bet365 since the company’s foundation in 2000.

The telebetting number has already been shut down by the Coates family-owned business, so it’s not even as if the company has decided to phase it out over a short period of time. It means that Coral and Ladbrokes are now the only major high street presences offering a telebetting service, with the other bookmakers that do so being smaller, independent companies.

Telebetting has declined for obvious reasons but is there still a role for it in the future or is it antiquated and defunct?

What Is Telebetting?

dialing a telephoneAs the name suggests, telebetting involves placing bets over the telephone. You simply call up a designated number and tell the person answering the call your account number and the bets you wish to place. Some of the services have attempted to move with the times and allow punters to place their wagers using apps such as WhatsApp instead of actually needing to call up.

There are some benefits to using a telephone betting service, such as when you can’t get an internet service but you can get a phone service,  although, that is becoming rarer these days as network coverage and broadband roll out improves.  You can also, in theory, place several bets at once quicker when you know exactly what you want, especially if the internet is slow or the sites are jammed and betting online is an issue.  It is also easier to get prices on antepost and special bets.

There is a negative connotation around online betting, for example, with some people believing that their browser usage is tracked and this impacts on things like the ads they see online. Some people may only have access to a shared computer and may prefer to place telebets.  Others may just not have access to a computer or smartphone.  There are lots of reasons why someone would want to bet over the phone rather than online.

You can benefit from same day payouts, more bets being accepted and you can withdraw your money easier than with other betting methods. Even so, it is obviously a thing from the past. It was an extremely popular service in the 1980s and 1990s when online betting didn’t really exist in any meaningful sense, but nowadays very few punters actually bet by this method.

Why Bet365 Are Shutting Down Telebetting

telephone reciever off the hookIt is the move to online that has essentially killed most telebetting services. Indeed, customers of Bet365 that used the service were asked to contact the company in order to begin the transfer of their accounts online. With mobile applications alongside desktop websites allowing bookmakers to offer customers a virtually unlimited number of bets, there’s no need to it over the phone.

The number of customers still using the telebetting service in this day and age became so low for Bet365 that it became pointless for them to keep it up and running. Upon the cancellation of the telebetting offering the bookie revealed that it was no longer possible to justify paying staff to run the service, such was the small amount of punters still calling up to place bets.

Will It Alienate Older Customers?

older man on the phoneThe question that Bet365 now need to think about is whether the cancellation of their telebetting service will alienate some older customers. Those still calling up to place their bets will almost certainly have been doing so because they’re not young enough to be able to successfully make the transition over to placing bets online.

Obviously Bet365 will be hoping that the numbers are such that they won’t actually lose that much business. It’s also worth noting that it really is only the oldest, and perhaps the most stubborn, of people who either don’t know how to operate a computer or don’t want to learn. That will almost certainly be a small enough demographic to mean that they won’t be a big loss.

Only A Few Companies Still Offer Telebetting

ladbrokes coralThe other thing that Bet365 will have thought about is the fact that they were one of the few tier-1 bookmakers actually still offering such a legacy service. Ladbrokes and Coral are now the only bookies in that bracket that still do so and it’s worth noting that they’re both part of the same group. Equally as noteworthy is the fact that the group also owns Gala Bingo.

Given that both bingo and telebetting are things aimed at an older crowd, even if there has been a concerted effort to convert younger players in recent years, it’s interesting that they are still holding on to the service. Other than them it is mostly smaller, independent bookies that still offer the service, presumably because it’s cheaper for them to run than it was for Bet365, otherwise they choose to continue running it at a cost to maintain the service to customers.

Telebetting Staff Relocated

Customer SupportBet365 were keen to point out that the staff that had been busy manning the phones for the telebetting service had not simply been fired. Instead they have been relocated to other areas of the company, with all staff having been accommodated. That is a move that is deserving of credit, given that things have not been easy for bookmakers in recent times.

Between the increased Point Of Consumption tax introduced by the government and the maximum stake decision on Fixed Odds Betting terminals through to increased restrictions on gambling in general operators are finding it tougher. Betting companies were struggling even before sport was stopped virtually worldwide in 2020, which has been an annus horribilis so far for bookies.

A Gradual Move Online?

betting on football onlineDoes Bet365’s decision to get rid of their telebetting service suggest that other companies will soon be looking to gradually move everything online? The reality is that high street shops are becoming less profit-making enterprises for bookies, especially since the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals had their maximum stakes cut. They’ve gone from essentially printing money to barely covering expenses.

It wouldn’t be entirely surprising if the likes of Ladbrokes, Coral and William Hill announced in the coming months and years that they would be selling off all but their most profitable betting shops. With more and more punters placing bets online and fewer and fewer doing so in person or, it seems, over the phone, it would be a decision that made solid financial sense in the long-term.

There is also a reality that must be faced in the wake of the past few months. What will the ‘new normal’ look like for bookmakers if people are concerned about being in confined spaces with others? On top of that, is the demographic that regularly uses a high street shop simply dying out and not being replaced by younger people? The end of telebetting could just be the start, with Bet365 leading where others will soon follow.

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