The vast majority of the press reports concerning UK retail and the UK high street are of the doom and gloom persuasion. With even retail mogul Mike Ashley calling it quits on his consumption spree of declining brands after the catastrophic failure of House of Fraser, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that UK retail is – per the numbers – in bad shape.
As reported by this news outlet, the UK retail industry suffered its worst-ever year on record in 2019, with the ailing high street and numerous store closures hitting UK retail hard. It was found that the decline in sales was heavily influenced by the 0.9 per cent fall in sales in November and December, which was mirrored by a 2.6 per cent rise in online sales during the last two months of the year.
However, a recent partnership that has been forged in the UK gaming retail market shines a light on where UK retail and the high street is still finding success.
NetEnt puts faith in UK retail
NetEnt has been in the iGaming – online gambling – business for years and has been one of the leading brands in the global industry for a long time. Now, in order to build brand awareness and increase revenue streams, NetEnt has teamed up with the UK-facing Blueprint Gaming to roll out content across their retail gaming machines in high-street betting shops, pubs, arcades, and bingo halls.
Due to what is happening with the rest of the UK retail industry, many outsiders assume that land-based gaming is on the decline. However, if NetEnt’s vote of confidence wasn’t enough, the figures show that online isn’t the dominant force just yet. Of the total gross gambling yield excluding lotteries that is shown here by the UK Gambling Commission in their most recent report, only £5.3 billion of the £10.7 billion came via the remote (online and mobile) sector. This means that retail gaming is still the dominant force at £5.4 billion.
Online options complementing the high-street options
The iGaming market in the UK is simply huge. Strictly regulated by the UKGC, all of the sites recommended by NetEnt online feature competitive welcome bonuses – showing that the sector is thriving. The remote sector in the UK makes up just less than half of the non-lottery gross gambling yield, but it’s certainly not here to take over the entire industry.
For the time being, the UK remote gambling market saw a slight decline in gross gambling yield in the most recent figures (2019), dropping 0.6 per cent – primarily due to a downturn in betting. Of course, it still reeled in a GGY in the billions, proving itself to be immensely popular, but the decline in iGaming shows that it’s not continually eating away at the retail market share. In fact, many have argued that the online and land-based sectors complement each other, increasing the accessibility of the industry while also making the retail options more familiar.
NetEnt, with their expansive online presence, recognise the strength of UK retail, and so, they have invested in retail gaming to enhance their reach among the UK audience. It’s a move that shows that, in some sectors, the UK high street can continue to thrive.