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Proposed FOBT regulations could cost UK bookies £150m

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osed changes to Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) in the UK could cost the nations bookmakers £150m annually according to an article in the Financial Times.

Numerous pressure groups and members of the UK Parliament have been campaigning for the maximum bets on the FOBTs to be reduced from £100 to £2. Reports are now suggesting that a compromise of £30 maximum bet will be reached which will in turn cost the UK bookmakers £150m. Ladbrokes Coral have said they are set to lose £87m alone.

The UK is home to several of the largest gaming companies in the world and each one of those companies contributes millions in state revenue. However, it is no secret that in the last few years major concerns have been raised over FOBTs.

The nature of the games and the high concentration of terminals in areas with higher rates of employment have raised numerous red flags with the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond. Following a report in 2015, released by the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, numerous ethical questions have been raised over FOBTS. The reports highlighted their issues to parliament who have since set up an ongoing review which is to be finished next month.

The on-going review will further investigate the claims that FOBT machines are in some way uniquely addictive or if they are deemed to be targeting vulnerable members of society.

The news of the potential loss of income will add more fire to the debate and with the review's end in sight it is still unclear what decisions will be made regarding the future of FOBTs.

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