Betting online and betting in shops: key differences and unique characteristics

Even in the modern age of technology, betting shops are still going strong. Part of the reason for that is actually technology. Brick and mortar stores have adapted over time and have integrated faster modern ways to bet in-shop. Betting machines and automated process now occur.

But getting to a shop may not be convenient for everyone and online betting offers a wonderful alternative. So is there any advantage or disadvantage to betting in a shop or betting online? Or is it all much the same thing? Let’s investigate.


Both betting shops and online betting sites all have promotions running. However, you are likely to find a lot more available online. The online industry is massively competitive and bookmakers have to fight and scrap against each other to get your custom.

This is a good thing for customers because it means that there are things like promotions to take advantage of. There are many different types of betting promotions to be explored online. Things like acca bonuses, money back special bets, bet builder bonuses and so on.

The same volume of promotions are not to be found in shops. Also, you would have to visit a shop specifically to find out what, if any promotion was running. That’s a lot easier to do online. 

Most online betting sites will offer a welcome bonus for new players. You do have to go through a registration process on a betting site and that is for security, both for the bookmaker to check that you are a legal player and for the customer to be able to protect their account. 

That’s not something you are going to get into a shop, as anyone (of legal age!) can walk in and place a bet. You don’t have to be a member of a betting shop to place a bet. In terms of the volume of bets on offer, online trumps the shop.

Ease of access

As mentioned, it’s really quick and easy to walk into a betting shop and place a bet. You don’t need to spend time registering or having your identification verified. So that’s a huge boon of betting in a shop.

However, in overall terms of access, online betting offers a great deal more accessibility. What if you wanted to do a bit of wagering at midnight? Shops are not going to be open and even if they were, would you want to be walking around in the middle of the night just to place a bet? 

It may, even on a Saturday afternoon, for example, be cumbersome for a player to get to a physical betting shop. It may mean getting in the car and driving somewhere. With online betting, you would just need to whip out the laptop and load up a bookmaker's website and browse your options.

Taking that a step further is mobile betting. You can be anywhere and still enjoy a bit of sports betting, be it through a bookmaker's mobile app or a mobile version of their website. You could be sat in a stadium watching a game, at the stores or out for dinner and still get your betting done with ease and convenience.

Customer Support

Customer service is a key part of a betting experience. In a shop, this is likely to be a little more personal because it can be a direct one to one with a cashier there. So there is someone direct that you can talk to and resolve any problems.

Most online interactions for customer support are done with a representative via live chat. That’s not suitable for everyone and while a lot of the leading bookmakers do offer a telephone support line, there is generally a wait time involved.

At the end of the day it’s probably less about how you get customer service, but the quality of it.

Closer to the action

One of the most popular reasons that punters go to a betting shop is to watch the live-action. Go into any bookmaker and you will see tv screens lining the walls, showing live racing, football and more. It’s a big feature of shops and it, of course, keeps punters in the location.

But now online, a lot of bookmakers provide racing streams of any race that you place a bet on, so it is relatively easy to get access to events. Bookmakers stream live sporting events from tennis, football matches, basketball and so on.

The online options may be a little more limited because of geo-location blocks which has to do with broadcasting right. But still, there is a lot of live sports available through online bookmakers and a lot of it can be watched on mobile devices as well.

Direct Cash

If you go into a bookmaker shop you are going to be playing with cash. It’s the cold hard cash that you are going to be handing over to the teller, just the same as if you walked into any of the famous sportsbooks on the Las Vegas strip.

This for some may be a more welcome feature. When walking into a shop with a set amount of money, it’s easy to keep track of what you are doing. There is a bigger attachment to the actual physical value of betting when you are using cash than when you are using something like a credit or debit card to fund an online account.

When you are playing with funds from an online account it is just numbers on a screen and they don’t always resonate as being monetary value. But then carrying cash is not such a common thing in the modern world as carrying a card around. That’s why betting shops have ATMs which of course, charge fees.

Pros and Cons

Both ways of betting have their advantages and disadvantages. Personal preference comes into play at the end of the day and nothing more. It may be just that you happen to be walking down the street, see the betting shop and want to jump in there and do some betting off the cuff.

Online betting has a lot of wonderful advantages of accessibility at the end of the day. There are more promotions and offers that can be found online, you can take your time in your own environment in picking out bets and if you are a fan of exchange betting, well, you can’t walk into a shop and do that.

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