FOBT debate clouded by wildly disparate analysis

FOBT debate clouded by wildly disparate analysis

Monday, March 5, 2018 Posted by Luke Massey
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Stake limits on the machines are expected to be drastically reduced

UK amusement and gaming trade body bacta has met with former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith to present a new report that tackles the economic impact on bookmakers arising from a proposed reduction in FOBT maximum stake to £2.

Bacta president Gabi Stergides and chief executive John White were joined in the meeting by Oliver Hogan, head economist at the Centre for Economics and Business research (CEBR), which undertook the latest analysis.

The CEBR research claims that predicted losses to the UK bookmaking industry resulting from a reduction in FOBT stake to £2 are being wildly exaggerated by the government’s own researchers. The shortfall in annual gross gambling yield, it suggests, will be £335m, nearly 47 per cent less than the £639m projected by the government in its initial impact assessment on FOBT stakes.

White reported that the meeting, which took place at Duncan Smith’s Palace of Westminster office, served to firmly reinforce bacta’s ongoing calls for a reduction in FOBT stakes.

He described the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green as someone that is “well on board and very active in the campaign to achieve a £2 stake”, adding: “He is one of hundreds of politicians that we’re seeing on a weekly basis and the message we’re getting is that there’s widespread support for a reduction in stake.”

Totally Gaming says: While the outcome of the current debate is yet to be set in stone, arguments and counter arguments will continue to fly in what has become an intense campaign for both the UK bookies and their high street competitors. The big question for industry observers, however, is how can two impact assessments be so far apart – to the tune of £304m - in terms of the projected losses arising from the imposition of a £2 stake?

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