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Retail will remain a key part of the gambling ecosystem in Europe. In such a hard time for the betting shops, SKS365 has concentrated its energy to set up the best way to relaunch the shops, which will reopen with new and improved services “

 The outlook for the retail betting shops in Europe, which have been affected by the Covid-19 lockdown and by local limitations in terms of the number of shops and distances from sensitives area, was the main topic of discussion during the virtual panel “The Future of Retail”. This online conference is part of the ICE 365 content series, a free-to-access deep-dive into sector-specific insight, analysis and exclusive content delivered by Clarion Gaming in partnership with recognised industry experts and thought leaders.

Alexander Martin, CEO at SKS365, sees the future still bright for the betting shops, despite the current challenges. He is confident in that retail will remain a key part of the gambling ecosystem, if the operators will adapt and evolve to their new circumstances. “The key to staying ahead of the game is linking the offering between the offline and the online channel and vice versa. Offering an omni-channel experience allows customers to have both options and therefore to choose which channel best suits them at that particular time. In addition, it raises security and trust by creating a cohesive, seamless, personalized gaming experience that makes interactions consistent, easy, and fun. For this reason, during the first lockdown we invested in new retail functionalities and products such as the self-service betting terminals to make our shops more interactive and digital. During the current lockdown we have taken a similar approach, so when our shops will be allowed to reopen, our customers will find again more innovative services, offerings in newly designed shops”.

Speaking about changes of the gaming scenario, that has registered an increasing popularity of online gambling, given the impossibility to play in the brick and mortal venues, Martin said: “Certainly, the lockdown has been an accelerator for the online transition. However, our recent survey, clearly showed that traditional shop customers will return to the shops. Many answered that they will use in the future our omni-channel offering, nevertheless some are very happy with the pure shop offering. Our land-based customers are very loyal and they like our shops, the atmosphere and enjoy the exchange with like-minded people. It is a hub for them to connect with each other as well as our entertaining services. Sports betting is very much sharing thoughts and ideas about teams and plays”.

Having said that, high-street bookies will certainly have to find new ways to attract customers back and according to Martin it is crucial to invest in the venues both from a design and from a technological point of view: “Our goal at Planetwin365 is to offer the most entertaining retail experience. We are ready to compete with all other places people can go to such as bars, restaurants, bowling alleys or cinemas. Our betting shops are places where people do not go only to place a bet, but also for the joy of being there. Nowadays, customers expect to find the same offer and features on each channel, and it is vital to keep investing in the retail channel, as we are doing, to bridge the gap with the online and enhance the customers experience in the shops”.