Maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals slashed to £2

Maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals slashed to £2

Maximum stake for fixed-odds betting terminals slashed to £2

United Kingdom high streets are already enduring a bleak period as retailers and restaurant chains battle the headwinds of rising costs and declining consumer confidence.

With recent high-profile failings in responsible gambling and player protection obligations by the likes of William Hill and Sky Bet clearly having influenced the hard line taken by the government, GVC acknowledged that the industry needed to show competency in this area going forward.

"These machines are a social blight and prey on some of the most vulnerable in society, and we are determined to put a stop to it and build a fairer society for all".

The Government have announced that new rules will be brought in to limit the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) to £2, but Bookmakers are far from happy.

"We expect over 4,000 shops to close and 21,000 colleagues to lose their jobs". The government will announce the rise in the next budget. The rule change will now have to be approved by parliament before its written into law.

However, the government has not set an exact timetable for implementing the changes.

Shares in gambling firms initially fell but later recovered. Investors believe a U.S. supreme court ruling this week allowing states to legalise sports betting outweighed the negative news in the UK.

With tighter curbs and higher taxes in their home market, the companies are likely to seek to expand across the Atlantic.

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In outlining the government's plan, Crouch said that striking a balance between growth for the betting industry and social responsibility was important. William Hill has around 2,300 betting shops employing over 12,500 people.

The group said the stake cut could also hit annual earnings by between £70 million and £100 million, given that it is estimated to reduce its total gaming net revenues by as much as 45%.

The machines, a feature of high-street betting shops, have been dubbed "the crack cocaine of gambling" and blamed for vulnerable people losing thousands of pounds in a short time. The British gambling regulator, the Gambling Commission, gave its backing to the new £2 limit earlier this year.

GVC has expanded rapidly through acquisition, while Paddy Power Betfair is the product of a merger.

It pledged to work with the gambling sector to ensure it has sufficient time to introduce the stake reduction and technological changes.

"While we want a healthy gambling industry that contributes to the economy, we also need one that does all it can to protect players".

"As the industry adjusts its business model, those shops that do survive will continue to provide a safe place to gamble with staff interaction and industry leading responsible gambling measures and support British sport".

Carolyn Harris, who leads the Parliamentary group on FOBTs, said: "This was morally the right decision to make", adding it was a victory for all whose lives "have been blighted by these toxic machines".

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