What causes sports gamblers to stop using some online sportsbooks?
March 8th, 2024, Rishad Dsouza

What causes sports gamblers to stop using some online sportsbooks?

Running promos, free opening bets and special offers are common ways to have sports gamblers sign up for and try out new online sportsbooks. But beyond that, how do brands retain consumers, especially in a competitive online sportsbook market like the UK?

In another piece, we looked at factors that make sports bettors use certain accounts as their main ones. Being easy to navigate and find things (28%) is top of the list. But the timely use of free bets (27%) and ease of loading and withdrawing money (27%) are also instrumental in keeping bettors loyal. But equally important for sportsbooks to know is the factors that actively turn gamblers away from using certain accounts.

Our research shows that just over a third of UK online sports bettors say they either stopped using or reduced their usage of one or more sportsbooks over the past year. When asked why, the most commonly cited reason was that they had simply started betting less often (24%). A fifth of sports gamblers attribute their reduction of use of a certain account to the fact that they prefer doing most of their betting on the main account only (18%). This emphasises the need for brands to entrench themselves as users’ favourite betting experience as soon as possible.

As mentioned earlier, free offers are one way to get gamblers to use a sportsbook, but 13% of them only use new accounts for the initial free bets and then discard the account. This highlights the importance of brands making a solid first impression on first-time users that they attract by running offers.

Just over a tenth of sports gamblers attribute the reduced use of a sportsbook to not having attractive offers or promos (12%), or the infrequency of offers and promos (12%). Also, 9% cite uncompetitive odds or pricing as factors that put them off (9%).

Luck, or the perceived lack of it, can also play a role – 11% of sports bettors say they stopped using a certain sportsbook because they felt it was unlucky for them.

But an unpleasant user experience can also drive users away. Navigation and layout issues with an app turns about a tenth (11%) of sports bettors away, and the performance of the app or website is cited as a deterrent by 7% of sports bettors. Not having alternate gambling options (7%) and having difficulties withdrawing funds (7%) were also cited as factors.

For some gamblers, the failure of a brand’s ability to provide tools to help them stay in control of their play, was a turn off (5%). Regulations could also play a role in turning users away – 6% said they stopped using an online sportsbook because it wasn’t regulated in the UK and 4% said that a sportsbook being limited by regulations was a deterrent.

So which sportsbooks have been on consumers’ chopping blocks over the past year? A tenth of sports bettors said they had stopped or reduced usage of Sky Bet over the past year (10%). But this isn’t the full story – since Sky Bet is one of the most used accounts overall, with 36% of sports bettors having accounts open with it, the rate of those who have stopped or reduced using the brand is 27% which isn’t too high contextually.

On the other hand, just 5% said they stopped or reduced using Bet Victor but this is more than half of the proportion that has an account with the brand – a conversion rate of 53% to be exact. 888 (45%), and Betway (41%) also had sizeable reduction rates. Bet365 had the lowest such rate at only 18%, followed by Coral (23%), Paddy Power (23%) Betfair (23%) and William Hill (23%).

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YouGov Surveys: Serviced provide quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online in February 2024, with a nationally representative sample of 471 sports bettors (aged 18+ years) in the UK, using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, race, gender, education, and region to be representative of all adults in the UK (18 years or older), and reflect the latest ONS population estimates. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.