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UK’s FOBT limit on the way down to £2 in High Street offices

Fixed-odds betting terminals

The UK government is resolved to go ahead with the introduction of a £2 maximum stake on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBT) in High Street betting offices.

The Minister of Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, announced the reduction of the maximum stakes of High Street betting offices to £2 to help compulsive gamblers this week. She added that there are also plans that will ensure online gambling operators implement and enforce spending limits on customers until thdy have successfully conducted affordability checks on costumers. This is a way to prevent vulnerable gamblers from moving from High Street FOBTs to online casinos

The implementation of the new law would be a huge reduction from the previous £100 maximum stake for High Street FOBTs. This will affect tax revenue mobilization from the gambling industry. To address this, Remote Gambling Duty levied on online operators will increase.

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The Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) are categorised in different classes in terms of where they are situated and how much can be wagered. The (B1) are mostly found in casinos, (B2) in High Street betting offices and the (B3) found in game arcades. The classes come with their own stake and pay out limits. The B2 has a maximum limit of £100, which many campaigners have advocated to be reduced to prevent addicted gamblers from losing a lot of money. This is big, compared to the £5.00 by the B1 casino FOBTs.

The reduction will have a negative effect both on revenue mobilization by the government and bookmakers. The UK´s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), states that the bookmaking industry will lose £639 million per year with the introduction of the reduced £2 maximum stake.

This has resulted in the drop of share prices of High Street betting office operators including Paddy Power/Betfair, William Hill, and GVC the operators of Ladbrokes and Corals.