UK Bookmaker Ready Themselves For Government Review
The UK government will be releasing their triennial review of their legal gaming industry and operators and stakeholders are holding their breath. The report is expected to set out reforms for the industry. These reforms are expected after recent furore caused by what was called irresponsible advertising and a concerning increase in the number if under age gamblers, although many still question the results of a recent investigation into the numbers.
One of the main targets of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sports, who help publish the review, will be fixed odds betting terminals. These are seen by many as the lifeblood of the gambling industry. These machines have poor odds and are essentially money vacuums. They pop up at pubs and other public areas.
One of the main points of contention with these terminals is the fact that players can wager up to £100 per play. There has been calls to reduce this maximum wager amount to as low as £2. Reports by the gambling commission say that fixed odd betting terminals made the industry £1.7 billion pounds in 2014 alone.
It is hard to justify the existence of these terminals when you can more easily access online casinos that offer much better odds and much better bonuses and features. That said from statistics it seems that almost 4500 betting shops may go out of business if fixed odds betting terminals have their maximum wager reduced to £2.
Some May Benefit From New Regulation
Many shrewd operators are sensing an opportunity for consolidation and takeovers should the review recommend financial reform. John Whittingdale, a former culture minister spoke recently at a meeting of the Association of British Bookmakers and said that the industry should brace itself.
Following the publishing of the government review will be a 12 week consultation period after which the final decision will be made on future legislation which will set the tone for the UK gambling industry for years to come.
Jim Mullen from Ladbrokes estimated that the government will be losing revenue of £250 million per year with a potential loss of 20 000 jobs by 2020. Breon Corcoran from Paddy Power has raised the issue that the situation has now become toxic in the eye of the public through media reporting and politicising by MP’s. He believes that the government will now have to, quite incorrectly make serious cuts to the maximum stakes allowed at betting terminals simply to ease the mind of the general public.
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