The gaming industry in the United Kingdom is being hit with the new regulations for fixed odds betting (FOBT) terminals. A report published on November 24 by The Mail, indicates that since April of this year more than 1,000 gambling stores have been forced to close their doors.
This equates to about four closed stores per day, an unprecedented figure, after the lowest risks in FOBT machines were implemented by the government. If the trend of business closures continues, it is expected that within three years, some 2,000 locations along with their staff will be unemployed. To this we must add the pressure exerted by Brexit on the economy.
With increasingly stringent regulations, UK lawmakers make the game less attractive every day. This includes the approval of increasingly rigid advertising and sponsorship laws, as well as strict controls that have been imposed on gambling operators.
Only with the reduction of FOBT limits from £ 100 to £ 2 ($ 128 to $ 2.57), store profits fell 60%, resulting in the closure of 1,017 locations since April and another 982 are expected to have that also close from here to 2021.
If so, then some 6,420 stores will be closed leaving 11.00 employees without occupation. Betfred founder, Fred Done commented:
“We are fighting for our lives. When Mothercare closed, there was a lot of sympathy for the people who lost their jobs. But I haven’t heard a single politician show sympathy for someone without a job in the betting industry. We don’t care about the Government.”
This scenario will lead all companies, large and small, to have to reassess their future plans in the UK. Only Ladbrokes Coral has had to close 198 locations since April and another 702 are listed. On the other hand, Betfred has had to close 70 stores and the number could rise to 500.
UK operators analyze their numbers every month to continue adjusting their business to current reality. Scotbet, which was once the largest betting house in the country, went bankrupt. The company did not withstand the financial pressure and in July had to surrender after the government implemented the new FOBT rules. That was “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”
However, 30 of the company’s 41 locations are still operating fortunately, through an agreement signed with Scotbet receivers. The repression did not have the impact that legislators expected, as evidenced by the evidence.
Players “migrated to other less regulated forms of play,” such as “game rooms, known as adult game centers,” said Jenningsbet managing director Greg Knight.
He said that
“The game rooms are much less evolved in terms of damage prevention and yet they are now booming. So, indeed, what it has is that the betting shops close and the adult game centers open.”
“they now have less staff and are not so strictly regulated, so you have to ask yourself what has been achieved.”