Gambling consultant: “The reduce-all-gambling rollercoaster is on its way”

Gambling Consultant Steve Donoughue is anticipating a rough period for both betting shops and online gambling.

Online Gaming

Since the maximum-stake reduction on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) was introduced on 1 April, betting shops have declared hundreds of shops may be shut down as a direct result of the new £2 maximum stake.

Donoughue explains his prediction of a high number of shops to cease business is not down to the new limit itself and is something which has been on the cards for a while.

He said: “Betting shops were on a gradual decline in numbers before FOBTs became so predominant. You can liken betting shops to bingo halls; an ever-falling number and increasing dependency on a reducing demographic which solely uses cash and is free during the day.

“My forecast is 4,500 shops will close by 2023 and then it will just reduce by single percentage points as a sticking plaster to the industry.”

Donoughue expects more misery to unfold for the industry, with the government looking to tackle problems it believes lie with online gambling.

He says: “The reduce-all-gambling rollercoaster is on its way. The shift to a public health approach to problem gambling will see education and advertising campaigns to try and stop or dramatically reduce every form of gambling, but this will mostly target online.”

Donoughue was speaking exclusively for a feature on the initial impact of the FOBT maximum stake reduction feature for the Gambling Insider July/August magazine. Register here for access to the full article when it is published in July.

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