UK Gambling Firms Set To Profit As FOBT Curbs Delayed Till 2020
The UK government took a decision recently to limit the maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT’s) to £2. FOBTs are popular gaming terminals installed at brick-and-mortar sports betting shops in the UK and are extremely popular with bettors.
Patrons would be able to indulge their gambling cravings in a quick game that usually involved slots or video poker. These games usually had people betting up to £100 every time that they played, which resulted in people losing thousands of pounds.
However, with the new maximum stakes, betting shops would face a severe cut in their earnings. Gambling operators were outranged and were preparing for heavy losses.
They received good news recently when they found out that the Tory government has decided to delay the process of formally putting the legislation into action. The UK government announced that the maximum stakes will still be implemented, but it will only happen in 2020.
Patricia Gibson MP
This announcement was made after discussions with the gambling industry. The main reason given for the delay is that the gambling companies will need two years to fully update the software on their terminals to meet the £2 maximum stake that has been placed on them. The delay though is sure to be a profitable time for the gambling shops. The two years that are covered under the agreement will be enough time for fixed odds betting terminals to earn an estimated £4 billion. This joins the £3 billion that these terminals have earned since the initial inquiry in June 2016.
Bookies and gambling shops that operate these terminals had earlier claimed that the maximum £2 bet would result in a loss of revenue and the closure of many shops, which could lead to massive job losses. This delay will give these shops a chance to continue to function and not have to make any job cuts.
Anti-Gambling Groups Not Happy Over Delay
The delay has certainly got quite a few anti-gambling groups up in arms. Some even suspect that the gambling companies have made a deal with the government for the delay to happen. Carolyn Harris, a Member of Parliament (MP) who fought hard for lowing the stakes on FOBT’s is upset over the decision. Harris has already taken steps to start an investigation into the delay.
In a statement, Harris said
I'm absolutely appalled the Treasury would appear to have done a deal with the industry. They are protecting the interests of the bookies at the risk of damaging the lives already been blighted by these dreadful machines. It was a long battle we thought we had won, only to discover this deal has been done behind our backs