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UKGC Recommends Another Piece of Proactive Regulation: But Will it Take?Published March 23, 2018 by Lee R
Staunch opposition to UKGC moderation remains, at the risk of alienating high street.
The UK Gambling Commission UKGC has recommended a new piece of regulation as another step towards implementing an equitable regulation model that satisfies gaming opponents and high street operators alike.
The New Recommendations
The latest measure seeks to cut maximum stakes in fixed odds betting terminals (FOBT) in British betting shops to 30 pounds ($41.78).
An additional related regulation calls for a two pound stake limit for gambling machines offering slots games such as traditional fruit machines ($2.79).
The FOTB Question
Fixed odds betting terminals (FOTB) enable players to bet on multiple games in one spot, and represent a new significant source of income for UK bookmakers on high-street bookmakers.
The drop was actually far too moderate for many in the UK Parliament, with MP opponents of roulette-style gambling games calling for stakes on FOBTs to be slashed all the way to £2, even after the UKGC had warned the recommendation could be as high as £50.
The aforementioned MP opponents were concerned specifically about risks casino-style games posed, while the commission responded that a popular FOBT game such as roulette should be cut to £30 or lower.
MP Speaks Against
Labour party deputy leader and leading FOBT opponent Tom Watson called the new recommendations “deeply disappointing report from the Gambling Commission, which appears to have caved in to industry pressure.” Mr. Watson further decried the machines as “the heart of the UK’s hidden epidemic of problem gambling,” of which the prime culprit was “highly addictive roulette-style games.”
Lead Investigator Speaks
As chairperson of an all-party parliamentary group investigating FOBTs, Labour MP Carolyn Harris was steadfast in her faith in the ultimate outcome, acknowledging the current result as “disappointing. However, I am confident that the government will see past this and do the right thing, as the moral argument has been made so overwhelmingly for £2.”
High Street Implications
The positive impact of the limit on high street stems from bookmakers claims that a cut to £2 would force many shops to close and cost jobs.
Clearly, the UKGC is still attempting ways to maintain revenues through relatively moderate intervention: the question remains whether enough MP’s in opposition can force stricter standards in the short term pending review.