The UK Labour Party has challenged the Government for what it calls unnecessary delay of the long-awaited nation-wide review of Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). As Casino Guardian has reported earlier this week, the FOBTs review was postponed until the autumn, with a possibility to be carried out as early as October.
The opposition Labour Party has blamed the Government for its recent general election, claiming that was one of the main reasons for the delay of the review process. The UK Labour Party group has presented a number of complaints, including ones related to the delayed announcement of the investigation results.
The political group has demanded further answers on the FOBTs review issues. It reminded that the first deadline was scheduled for earlier in 2017. Vince Maple, the leader of the Labour Group on Medway council commented that publishing the review needed to be a matter of great priority for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. According to him, the DCMS had to publish its review any further delay and also to take care of the matter as soon as possible.
Recently, the UK regulatory authorities have been focused on implementing stricter measures and policies on the companies that operate within the local gaming industry. Over the last six months alone, both gambling operators and bookmakers have been imposed a federal probe for imposing harsher rules upon them. However, due to the earlier general elections that have been called by the British Prime Minister, the current officials will be forced to wait until the next autumn in order to make a decision who to proceed with the discussions.
According to sources familiar with the matter, there have been a serious break in the relations between the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the UK Treasury Department, after the latter had expressed its concerns that the reduction of the FOBTs maximum stake from £100 to £2 would result in the local economy losing hundreds of millions in taxes.
The reduction of the fixed-odds betting machines’ has been proposed earlier after various authorities and Government officials have raised red flags about the possible negative effects from betting on fixed-odds betting terminals. They also warned about the highly-addictive nature of these machines, urging the Government to take more drastic options and take care of the players’ safety and put their prosperity first.
The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has also earlier reported that such a stake reduction would result in the closure of hundreds of betting shops across the country, as well as in massive lay-offs in the industry, with about 20,000 jobs to be cut.
The opposition Labour Party group is not the only one that has criticised the idea of FOBTs maximum stakes reduction. Currently, fixed-odds betting machines account for about 50% of the profits generated by brick-and-mortar bookmakers in the UK, and imposing stricter regulatory framework could bring down the retail gaming and betting industry, according to operators. Still, the idea of the implementation of stricter rules has had its proponents, too, with the Liberal Democrats and Labour Party both giving their back-up for such measures.