Paddy Power Betfair endorses crackdown on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

UK a

paddypowerbetfairfobts
nd Ireland sportsbook operator Paddy Power Betfair has become the first bookmaker to voice its support for the proposed crackdown on controversial fixed odds betting terminals by the UK government, following publication of its triennial review into gambling later this year.

According to reports in the Financial Times newspaper, Paddy Power Betfair CEO Breon Corcoran has written a letter to Tracey Crouch, parliamentary minister for sport in which he states “We now believe that the issue has become so toxic that only a substantial reduction in FOBT stake limits to £10 or less will address societal concerns. “

Despite opposition from many within the betting industry, the government is expected to impose a reduction in the maximum stake from its current £100 to £2, as a way of curbing the increasing numbers of problem gamblers in the UK.

Addressing these concerns, Corcoran wrote that: “Whilst we are not aware of any evidence which links stake size to problem gambling, we are acutely aware of the increasing reputational damage to the gambling industry that has followed lack of progress in this area.”

The proposed restrictions would put a severe dent in the tax revenue received from these machines, which last year accounted for over £400m and has been the subject of intense political debate among all three leading political parties.

Corcoran adds: “I am confident we could operate our retail business successfully and profitability under such circumstances. Other well-run operators should be able to do the same.”

Responding to Mr Corcoran’s comments, Donal McCabe, external relations director at Ladbrokes, said: “Of course with 300 shops [at Paddy Power Betfair] and a massive online presence, [Mr Corcoran] is looking at an impact on a very different scale to the rest of the sector, where 20,000 jobs are at risk. Some might say it is a naked act of opportunistic commercialism dressed up as a concern over the sector and the wider good.”

Paddy Power has approximately 300 retail outlets in the UK, compared to William Hill which has around 900 shops and the UK’s biggest betting operator Ladbrokes and Coral, which when combined have over 3,500 betting shops in the UK.

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