£2 Fixed Odds Betting Terminals Could Cost Ladbrokes Coral £450 Million

A crackdown on fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) on the UK’s high streets could cost companies like Ladbrokes Coral almost £450 million according to Barclays.

Ladbrokes to lose £450 in FOBT move.

Ladbrokes could lose nearly £450 million in annual sales if the government limits FOBT bets to £2. (Image: flickr/Ian Sutton)

With gambling opponents continuing to push the government to reduce the maximum wager on FOBTs across the UK, analysts at Barclays Capital have looked into the financial impact of such a move.

Taking the current betting limit of £100 and combining it with annual revenue figures from various high street bookmakers, the analysts concluded that Ladbrokes Coral would be the hardest hit.

Limits Would Cost Every Industry player

According to Barclays’ figures, reducing the maximum FOBT bet to £2 would cost Ladbrokes Coral £449 in sales.

Paddy Power Betfair would take a smaller financial hit, but would still lose out on a possible £55 million in annual revenue if new rules were brought into effect.

As well as Barclay’ bleak forecast, the Association of British Bookmakers has already said that 3,300 shops could close if a £10 betting limit was imposed on FOBTs. Up until now the government has appeared reluctant to alter the current dynamic and the latest news may not do anything to change that stance.

HMRC statistics show that tax receipts from the UK betting and gambling industry totalled £2.66 billion between 2015 and 2016. FOBTs made up a large portion of this with government data showing that the virtual gaming machines added £438 million to the country’s coffers in 2016.

With Barclays’ analysts suggesting that a £2 betting limit will significantly reduce revenue for the top operators, ministers will now balance the social impact of FOBTs with the tax implications of any new laws.

Fairground Owners Not Above Gambling Laws

In other betting news this week, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) has published a reminder to fairground owners that they’re not above the law when it comes to regulation and compliance. With the Easter holidays signalling the start of “fair season,” the UKGC has reiterated the rules operators need to abide by in order to stay within the law.

Under UK gambling laws, fairground owners can only offer Category D fruit machines that allow players to bet £0.10 and win a top cash prize of no more than £5. In addition to only being able to offer Category D fruit machines, grab machines and coin pushers must also fall within similar small stake parameters.

Additionally, operators must source their slots from Gambling Commission licensed suppliers and any member of staff working with the games must be at least 18 years old. To ensure fairgrounds don’t skirt the rules, the UKGC has confirmed that local licensing authorities will be carrying out spot checks throughout the summer.

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