Scottish bookmakers on the decline amidst FOBT review

By Caroline Watson
Despite the popularity of fixed odd betting terminals, the number of high street bookmakers in Scotland has actually been in a period of steady decline since 2011.

Latest industry figures have revealed that a total of 90 betting shops closed during the period 2011-2016, as independent operators couldn’t keep up with the ‘big four’ industry heavyweights.

After months of delays, the industry is nervously awaiting the outcome of the UK Government’s Triennial Review, which could see the FOBT stakes reduced from £100 a minute to just £2.

Much to the dismay of UK bookmakers, this detrimental decision could spark a wave of consolidation across the country.

FOBT’s have long-been regarded as the lifeblood of UK bookmakers, however, this pivotal decision will dictate what the landscape will look like in the future for the high street industry.

According to figures posted by the Gambling Commission, £1.7bn was spent on FOBTs between October 2014 and September 2015, accounting for 56% of betting shops’ profits.

A decision is expected in the coming months, although this will now seem the least of independent Scott bookmakers as they can barely keep up with the industry giants as it currently stands.

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