The UK government has been considering proposals for new maximum stakes on fixed-odds betting terminals(FOBTs) for the past few months. It looks like they’ve made the decision which could affect the operators in a negative way.
Back in October 2017 the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) released a statement in which they labelled the laws for the machines “inappropriate”. Critics were pushing the government to decrease the maximum bet for FOBTs radically.
“We are consulting on regulatory changes to the maximum stake, looking at options between £50 and £2, in order to reduce the potential for large session losses and therefore to the potentially harmful impact on the player and their wider communities,” Tracey Crouch said back in October, according to the BBC.
There were several proposals, with the strictest suggesting a £2 as the maximum bet. Since these machines account for the largest slice of the gambling revenues the
final decision had a great impact on the industry.
The Association of British Bookmakers has warned that a large cut would result in a loss of 20,000 jobs. The bookies have obviously preferred the £50 proposal.
As it turned out today, they got unlucky on this bet, as – recently appointed to the leading role of the reshuffle – Culture Secretary, Matt Hancock signals the £2 ruling. “Matt wants the new stake to be at the bottom of the range,” – as an unknown source stated.
However, the match is not over yet, as the DCMS stated, the government is “currently consulting on what the exact cut should be, and would make a final decision in due course once all the evidence has been considered”. “We are clear that FOBT stakes will be cut to ensure we have a safe and sustainable industry where vulnerable people and children are protected.” – they added.
Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral Group, has also addressed the issue: “We are very clear that stake cuts will fail to adequately address any issue of problem gambling; the industry has also always made it clear that a cut to stakes will have serious consequences – resulting in shop closures which will ultimately affect jobs, tax revenue and the funding of racing.”
It’s clear that the opposing parties have significantly different opinion on the subject. Only the (near) future can tell who is right. Stay tuned for the updates!