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A £2 max stake for betting shop machines? A blow for shops, a boost for online gambling?

A £2 max stake for betting shop machines? A blow for shops, a boost for online gambling?

A £2 max stake for betting shop machines? A blow for shops, a boost for online gambling?


It has been announced this week, that the new Conservative Party culture secretary Matthew Hancock, has planned a huge crackdown on one the most lucrative elements of the UK’S high-street betting shops. The Minister is intending to introduce a law that dramatically reduces the amount punters can stake on the betting machines, from £100 to just £2 in an attempt to reduce the issue of gambling addiction, which the Conservative Party believes these machines exacerbate. The Labour Government had made these high stakes machines legal in betting shops as part the Gambling Act in 2005, where previously they had only been allowed in casinos.  Since then the move to restrict the machines has been somewhat lingering over the industry.


So, what will this mean for the high-street betting businesses?


While this policy has not even been introduced, the big companies have been feeling adverse effects already, with reports of falling shares in early trading on Monday. Ladbrokes fell 12%, while William Hill took a bigger hit of 15%. Barclays estimated that the policy could lead to losses in the millions for the big industry names, not to mention the catastrophic effects it would have for smaller betting shops, many of which would be forced to close altogether.

The Association of British Bookmakers has suggested that when the final decision is made, the loss of over 20,000 jobs should be taken into consideration.


What will this reduction mean for other forms of betting?


It seems that this reduction to the fixed odds betting terminals will not only affect the business providing these games, but other forms of betting may be affected as well. The British Horseracing Authority has warned that the cut to stakes may have ‘unintended consequences’ on British racing. However, supporters of the £2 maximum stake for FOBT’s have claimed that move would have a direct positive impact on the industry, due to the belief that punters would turn towards more traditional betting, like racing, as an alternative.


Could the introduction of this policy boost online gambling?


It seems that a move like this would inevitably see a rise in online gambling, where players can choose different games and stakes at their own freedom without being inhibited. As technology advances in the modern world, more and more industries are now moving online and making it more and more accessible to players of different backgrounds and abilities to gamble.


It remains to be seen if this policy does indeed go ahead as is expected, what exactly the effects will be on the different branches of the betting industry. Undoubtedly there will be adverse effects on many businesses and member of staff in the betting shops, but as always in situations such as these, someone always comes out a winner and it may be that the winner here will be the online gambling community as customers turn to the booming online slots scene for their betting fix.