Review is Postponed until Autumn 2017

FOBTs Review is Postponed until Autumn 2017

The United Kingdom postponed the consideration of issues on fixed-rate terminals (FOBT) until October 2017 due to disagreements over FOBT regulation between the Treasury and the government.

FOBTs Review is Postponed until Autumn 2017

FOBTs have been greatly criticised in different sectors due to the claims as to the addictive character of these machines and the easy way they provide punters with to lose huge sums of money within the shortest possible time.

Now the minimum stake that punters are able to make is £100/€ 114/$130, but some campaign groups insist on the decrease of the stake only to £2.

The Department of Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) is requested a review of the current FOBT policy due to the fears that they are tightening the game and can lead to losing thousands of pounds in a matter of minutes. Indeed, last year FOBT terminals received a record 1.8 billion pounds from British players, who have also lost £11bn since 2008.

However, the Treasury worries that such a cut could have a negative influence on tax receipts as all the registered 34,388 FOBT units bring to the UK budget about £400 million in taxes each year, the money that the country cannot afford to lose. Therefore, the Treasury expressed its concern about the probability of reducing the share of FOBT in this income stream. Due to this rift, the FOBT review was delayed until October.

This difference of opinion is further exacerbated by the overall outcome of the elections that forced the Conservatives to enter into an agreement with the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) in order to maintain their parliamentary majority. Most of the 10 DUP deputies are strongly opposed the FOBT concept and advocate a reduction in the maximum rate from £100 to £2. As a result of this polarisation of opinions and the need to maintain its majority, the government may have to agree to this concession.

The Conservative minister Tracey Crouch, who leads the review, commented that such a decision is “not in [the] long grass and that the process is really important on the issue”.

A representative of the British Bookmakers Association (ABB) said, “Any decisions affecting an industry that serves six million customers and employs more than 52,000 people, that is, more than the rest of the gambling industry, should be made on the basis of facts and evidence. We remain committed to working with the government and regulators in a responsible gambling. Reducing the limits on FOBT stakes can force bookmakers to close thousands of betting offices, which will cost the labour market 20,000 jobs.”

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