Why Can’t You Phone A Bookmaker Anymore?
Once upon a time, betting by phone was an extremely common way for punters to make their wagers.
Before the internet, phoning in a bet was the way that punters, unable to get to a betting shop in time, could still get their bets on for the day.
In fact, even before betting shops became legal in 1961 one of the only ways to bet off-track was to phone or telegram a bet in to an agent. This is how the likes of the original Mr William Hill got going.
It was at one point the business model for companies like Victor Chandler, now BetVictor, as well as being a key feature for major players such as William Hill, Ladbrokes, Coral and pretty much any of the old high street brands. In the early days of the internet online-only bookies like bet365 also accepted phone bets.
It is not just placing a bet via the phone that is dying out, many betting companies are now also phasing out customer support by phone. They cite lack of demand for the service but to some that need it it can be critical.
Take someone who is visually impaired for example, they will struggle to bet online and use features such as live chat when they need help.
Before The Internet
Back in the pre digital era, each of today’s mega chains were all promoting phone a bet operations but have today done away with it all for the most part.
In fact, curiously, many have even gone so far as to remove customer support services by phone, favouring instead live chat and, for some but not all, email too.
Look around a typical bookie’s website these days in the search for a telephone number and it’ll likely be a fruitless hunt. This is especially true of the newer brands.
But, established firms such as Ladbrokes, Coral, Betfred, BoyleSports and Paddy Power do all still offer phone betting even if it can be a hard service to track down.
At the end of the day, betting firms want to process as many wagers as possible and if there are a few remaining phone bettors out there then it makes sense to cater for them.
At the same time, because it’s a dying service, bookies don’t seem to be fishing for new telephone customers, channelling all of their efforts into the more lucrative and thriving web recruitment instead.
You can pretty much guarantee any online-only bookie set up after 2010 will not offer phone betting and many will not offer customer support by phone. Even the old high street giants are phasing this out and at some point in the not too distant future expect the service to be defunct.
Modern Life And Social Changes
The reasons behind the decline in telephone betting are so obvious they hardly need mentioning.
While there is still a case to made for the survival of betting shops, there is almost none to be made for phone a bet services, save for the one stated above.
As the older generation, those that would frequent a betting shop, pass on, they are being or have already been replaced by younger blood from a newer era.
While some of these modern day bettors might very well prefer to bet in shop and socialise with other people or even friends at the same time, many, the majority in fact, will now bet online.
And the rampant and relevant progress of modern day technology, especially mobile, has only served to accelerate this trend.
But what are the reasons for this declining customer support by phone service?
Live Chat Services Only
On site messaging and chat services are the heavily favoured customer support options with online bookmakers these days.
But these are hardly viable options if your account has been hacked and you need to access it.
Customers need to be logged in to access those very same support services. In such a case surely only a phone call can help.
Is this at all about bookies saving money? There could an element of that that is true.
Companies the world over want to cut costs and bookies are no different.
But, as a society, in general we talk less and text more these days and most firms, not just betting operators, make their contact services hard to find and many more have removed their telephone call centres as an option as well.
It is quite possible that chat services are the most commonly selected option for customers and companies are merely giving the people what they want.
What About People That Need To Use The Phone?
Not everyone can bet online easily and there are many people who will be excluded if phone betting services die out entirely.
Blind people and those with poor vision can not easily access online bookies. There are ways visually impaired customers can use online sites, using tools that read and describe what is on the page, but even when that is possible they are still unlikely to be able use features such as live chat if they need support.
There are other instances where you may need phone support too. Let’s say you think your account has been hacked and you either can’t access the internet. In this situation damage could be done before you are able to notify the betting company of the issue.
Some people also just prefer the interaction over the phone, emails and live chat can be very sterile and lots of customers still prefer to use the phone.
Betting via phone is pretty much dead now with very few options still available. There are plenty of the older and bigger brands that still offer phone support but even this will likely be rare in the 10 years time as companies look to reduce costs with less and les customers using the facility.