We all know that free bets in the form sign-up or no deposit bonuses are the backbone of the online casino and sports betting industry. But, does that represent fair competition for the land-based gambling industry? Can betting shops and small casinos compete with big online sportsbooks and no deposit casino websites?
This question was raised recently by one of Australia’s and Queensland’s biggest wagering providers, Ubet. In December 2016 Ubet called for a wide crackdown on big international and small local websites alike that advertise their services this way by offering free “stuff”. It sent big reverberations, but the Australian State Government practically turned a blind eye to this.
There is Enough for Everyone
From a business point of view, no land-based gambling establishment has gone broke or without a profit because of the rise of online gambling. At least there isn’t an official record of it happening. On the contrary, land-based operators like Ubet have been making big turnovers even with little or no incentives offered.
It’s true that online websites have caused a big stir among sports and casino enthusiast and have grabbed lots of customers in the last decade. This is only natural because they offer a much convenient way of betting and gambling especially if you are a busy person. Just pop out your smartphone and stay betting wherever you are.
But, in reality, the market is so big that there are enough sports bettors, slot lovers, poker pros & amateurs and all sorts of gamblers for all.
The Moral Point of View
From a moral point of view, there is nothing wrong with luring in customers using lucrative free bets and different kinds of freebies. It is what other vendors do in their respective industries too. Pubs, for example, offer food & drink specials to lure in customers off the street, but it doesn’t mean that restaurants or fast foods should rise and complain about it.
But, there is another issue at hand which was raised by Ubet’s CEO, Mr. Cooke. It’s about responsible gambling and whether giving out free bets is aligned with the expectations in the community with regards to responsible gambling. He claims that free bets are irresponsible trading practices that actually encourage problem gamblers to practice their vice or even produce new problem gamblers.
The Real Problem
The thing that operators like Ubet dislike is having to contribute to their local governments with millions of dollars in taxes through product fees. Furthermore, online gambling and betting sites cause for land-based operators to lose their monopoly position in the market. A position so carefully nourished by paying millions for privileges that the public doesn’t know of.
On the other hand, online competitors usually licensed offshore flourish without making the same tax contribution, which raises other issues. But, when has capitalism been about morality and fairness? It’s a rough world out there, and everyone wants a piece of the cake with as little costs as possible.