UK betting shops are “fighting for their lives” due to FOTBs reduction

By Guest writer, Mon 23 December 2019 09:49

UK  betting shops are “fighting for their lives” due to FOTBs reduction 

London is one of the cities that has bookmakers at almost every corner and since 1960, these establishments made sure to provide fun ways of betting. Times have changed, new laws were developed and now, more than 1000 gambling stores were forced to close their doors.

This reaction is the result of an action that happened in 2018. Then, the government decided that the stake of fixed-odds betting terminals (FOTB) would be reduced from £100 to £2. According to the Guardian, more than 100MPs signed for an amendment created to force the government to bring forward the stake reduction.

Initially, the decision was going to be implemented in October, but this triggered the resignation of the sports minister, Tracey Crouch. Finally, the Parliament reached to the conclusion that this change needs to be made sooner and the reduction started in April. Tom Watson, the Labour deputy leader and shadow culture minister stated the following: “It’s very sad that it took an honourable resignation of a good minister to achieve the obvious and necessary reforms to FOTBs.” Tracey Crouch was delighted by this decision and made it clear in a Twitter post that this cut was a crucial move to help prevent gambling addiction.

What are the effects of stake reduction?

The British gambling scene is regulated by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC), which makes sure that all betting activities are fair and reliable. These regulations include making gambling less attractive and keeping tighter controls on gambling operators.

The measure adopted made store profits fell 60%, which resulted in the closure of more than 1000 locations and another 982 acknowledged that would shut down until 2021. Sure, the decision was made to reduce the risk of losing large amounts of cash in a short time, but the closures of bookmakers will have other further effects:

  • It’s estimated that more than 11,000 people will be laid off, which will increase the rate of unemployment;
  • Companies of all sizes will be forced to re-evaluate their plans;
  • Those who face gambling addiction will turn to online betting;
  • Less-regulated activities, such as gamer rooms, known as adult game centres, will start to attract more and more players.

We could say that the crackdown did not have the overall impact expected by lawmakers. Sure, the betting shops are closing, but adult game centres and online betting will become more popular, which will only contribute to hiding the addiction. A strong collaboration between institutions in charge to improve safeguarding measures and provide the proper support is surely a must.