Restrictions on UK FOBT Machines to be Delayed
The United Kingdom is set to create severe limits on the region’s Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, or FOBT machines. Pending legislation will see the maximum bet allowed at one time to be reduced from £100 to just £2. However, recent reports suggest that the actual implementation of such laws will be delayed until 2020. Under a month ago, many saw the new changes to legislation as a victory for regulators. The restriction specifically allows players of FOBT machines to only wager £2 every 20 seconds. This legislative push was originally brought on by the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Roger Devlin is the CEO of UK online casinos and betting giant William Hill. Devlin states that the change to maximum bets on FOBT machines would result in the loss of over 20,000 jobs for individuals in the industry. He adds that the impact would be almost immediate from such a drastic shift in betting restrictions. The silver lining is that, according to Her Majesty’s Treasury, there are requirements in legislation that won’t allow the restrictions to be used until April of 2020. Implementing the maximum £2 bet will take a total of two years. During this time, it is estimated that the betting industry in the UK will generate £4 billion more in revenue without the new law.
Ultimately, the change to going to be bad news for online casinos and operators of sports betting sites. The UK government plans on instituting a new tax hike to online gambling that will offset the effect of reduced bets on FOBT machines. The adjusted online tax would be presented in the 2019 budget, meaning that the government will reap the benefits of double taxation from 2019 to 2020.
There is much debate over who should actually be responsible for bets placed at shops or online. According to statistics, it is estimated that £626 is bet by punters in the UK every second. Advocates of the new betting restrictions claim that operator liability should be met with tighter regulations. However, those who prefer a free market for gambling suggest that compulsive gambling habits will exist regardless of what laws are in place. Such a big change will physically change the landscape of the UK betting scene. About 8,500 betting shops are expected to close down once the legislation takes effect.
Operators of casinos online will face more challenges as the next two years pass by. An increase in taxes is the next obstacles after a tumultuous 2018. Government agencies such as the UK Gambling Commission have been cracking down on online casino operators. The changes have affected the industry worldwide have restricted access to real money bets on various sites.