Betting insiders lament FOBT regulations

A number of betting industry insiders have lamented the UK Government’s regulations on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) and some of the other changes that have affected high street bookmaking.

The comments came out of a discussion at the SBC Betting on Sports panel in which a number of leading bookmaking figures came together to debate the latest issues affecting the industry.

Paul Leyland, a Partner at Regulus Partners, claimed that the FOBT ruling in May, which reduced the maximum FOBT stake from £200 to £2 would lead to a betting retail environment in which everyone would suffer. He also predicted that there could be a hit on profits of up to 70 percent for the top tier of bookmaking shops, with mass closures at the bottom end of the market.

The FOBT regulations are due to come into effect in 2019 and Wayne Stevenson, of Corbett Sports, said that there would be reduced choice for punters when it came to high street bookmakers, as in addition to the inevitable closures, it would be difficult for any company to invest in shops and new technology at this stage, when many of those shops might have to be closed anyway.

Proliferation of betting shops

The panel also addressed the perception that there had been a proliferation of betting shops on the high street. Moderator David Webb, who is a Product and Compliance manager at BetConstruct, said that this had been largely caused by the removal of the need to prove there was a local demand for a betting shop before applying to open premise, and suggested that this should be reversed:

It became very easy for betting shops to pop up all over the place. For me, you should still have had to go in and prove there was demand for a betting shop.”

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Andie Hughes is a freelance writer, based in the UK who specialises in sports betting, casino and betting industry news.

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