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The UK Government to Reach a Decision on FOBTs

- October 30, 2017 By Oliver Young -

The Government might offer 3 different solutions.

UK punters will no longer to spend as much on FOBTs.

A lot is going on in the UK lately, regarding gambling and gambling legislations, and this country has featured in the gambling news a lot more than most other developed nations. Fixed-odds betting terminals have been on the agenda for many years now. In almost every report or public criticism of the gambling laws, FOBTs have been mentioned as one of the most problematic aspects.

Namely, people have been complaining that players are able to lose as much as £100 in just 20 seconds on FOBTs, and there have been multiple calls for a lower limit to be imposed. The criticisms are even stronger if we consider the fact that many of the people who play FOBTs are from poorer backgrounds and often end up spending than entire monthly salary or the dole in a matter of minutes.

Three Solutions Are Proposed

At the beginning of November, the UK Government will finally publish its decision on FOBTs and the wagering limit. It is certain that there will be changes and the maximum amount which players may wager will be lower. In addition, further restrictions are expected. Namely, operators might no longer be allowed to offer games and other products that might have an appeal to children, while the Labour Party has announced that it will implement much stricter laws and the Deputy Leader has hinted that they will lift the gambling levy.

The only doubts regarding the FOBT limits is the actual amount that punters will be able to wager per 20 seconds in the future. It is expected that operators will also be required to put money into problem gambling, i.e. support campaigns against problem gambling.

The Government might offer several options which will then be discussed by the public, the experts and stakeholders before a final decision is reached. Three options are mentioned. The limit may be cut to £50, or in half and this is the option that the bookies would favour, as it wouldn’t decrease their profit significantly. Next is the option for a limit between £10 and £30 which is to be some sort of middle ground.

The most restrictive option is the £2 which will supposedly be supported by the Labour Party and all those who are strongly against FOBTs and feel that they are tightly linked to problem gambling.

The Bookies Will Lobby Against a £2 Limit

The change, whichever option is finally decided on, will definitely cause problems for bookmakers as FOBTs account for over a half of the bookies’ total revenues and it is expected that they will lobby strongly against the £2, arguing that it would lead to lower revenues which in turn would result in heavy losses, pay-cuts and even loss of jobs.

The Association of Bookmakers estimates that up to a total of 20,000 jobs might be lost and the gaming duty income might fall significantly. The gaming duty contributed over £700 million to the treasury. However, bookies are well aware that the status-quo couldn’t be maintained and that the limit will be lower than £100 in the future. In fact, bookies and casino operators are expected to launch public awareness campaigns, in an attempt to discourage the Labour Party from imposing stricter solutions in the future.

 

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