Britain slashes top stake on gambling machines to £2
17 May, 2018, 13:06 | Author: Regina Silva
Bookmakers have warned that the measure will put 21,000 jobs and 4,000 betting shops at risk....
The decision follows complaints that the machines, which enable people to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on electronic games such as roulette, were highly addictive and had led to gamblers building up big losses.
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour party and shadow secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, told the BBC's Today programme: "For five years now pretty much everyone in Westminster, Whitehall and in the country has known that these machines have had a very detrimental effect in communities up and down the land.The bookmakers have chosen to take a defiant approach, trying to face down parliament, really, with a very aggressive campaign".
The BHA says it "recognises the potential impact on jobs" and also announced the Government may now bring forward a review of the levy, with officials planning to look at how a system based on global bets placed in Britain would work. Ireland's Paddy Power Betfair said already on Wednesday it was considering merging its USA business with fantasy sports company FanDuel.
In a statement, William Hill acknowledged that around 70% of its gaming machine revenue this year had been generated by stakes in excess of £2 and that as many as 900 of its shops (38% of all its retail space) could become "loss-making" after the changes are implemented.
Ladbrokes Coral, bought by GVC for close to 4 billion pounds late past year, operates close to 3,500 high street betting shops across the United Kingdom, employing over 25,000 people.
As part of the wider review, the government has also announced a series of other measures it said will help to protect punters, with the Gambling Commission charged with bolster protections around iigaming, including stronger age verification rules and proposals to require operators to set limits on consumers spending until affordability checks have been conducted.
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The group said the stake cut could also hit annual earnings by between £70m and £100m.
However, GVC said it did not intend to seek a judicial review of the decision.
Shares in all three companies fell in early trading on Thursday, with William Hill, down almost 3 percent at one stage, hit hardest. "We are delighted that the Government has finally seen sense on this important issue", he told Alphr. Following analysis of consultation responses and advice from the Gambling Commission, the government said it believes a cut to £2 will best achieve this.
The government's action, which marks the biggest regulatory change in the United Kingdom gambling industry since rules were liberalised in 2005, was welcomed by charities, the church and opposition politicians.
However, the announcement was widely welcomed by charities, the church and opposition politicians.
The Government said it will fund the crackdown through an increase in remote gaming duty.
A major multi-million pound advertising campaign promoting responsible gambling, supported by industry and GambleAware, will be launched later this year.
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