UK Government restricts cash-stake on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs)

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UK Government restricts cash-stake on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs)

Following the coalition’s pledge to crack down on FOBTs last week , it has been announced that the maximum cash stake on betting terminals is to be curbed at £50.

Previously, players were able to bet up to £100 every 20 seconds on FOBTs, stirring up controversy from certain segments of the media .

However, a review by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) in 2013 revealed that only 2.5% of bets on FOBTs are made at the maximum £100 stake level.

Under the government’s new rules, punters who wish to bet more than £50 will have to inform bookmaker staff or set up an online account. The latter option will allow their spending to be tracked, following an assessment by the DCMS.

The reduced stake may prove costly for the domestic betting industry in the short term. Last week, William Hill was forced to shutter 109 bookmakers as a result of hobbled profits.

However, bookmakers’ investors have responded positively after the government’s package of measures to control gambling turned out to be less drastic than expected. As a result, shares in William Hill and Ladbrokes have both risen.

These new regulations come after a nationwide government review of the British gambling industry. Other amendments to gambling legislation will grant local councils the power to deny betting shop applications .

In a recent interview with , journalist Christopher Snowdon touched upon the FOBT controversy. Despite his general opposition to government intervention in commercial gambling, he said he was “not opposed to the idea of lowering the stakes,” on FOBTs as “the £100 stake is purely arbitrary.”

[Featured image credit: Ian Sutton]

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