The share price of British gambling operators has declined in value following the revelations of the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) that it would consider reducing the maximum stake allowed on online casino games to £2, in line with the one imposed on land-based fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).
As Casino Guardian already reported, Neil McArthur, CEO of the UKGC, has revealed to an all-party parliamentary group of Members of Parliament, investigating the possible harm inflicted by betting. The consideration process is to take up to six months. A spokesman for the gambling regulatory body confirmed that the Commission has had an intention to take into consideration the online stake limits as part of its ongoing work aimed at reducing the risks of gambling-related harm.
The announcement made by the British gambling watchdog, however, pushed investors in online gambling firms and bookmakers to start selling off. As a result, some of the major gambling companies in the country saw a significant decline in their shares’ volume. William Hill shared marked an 8% decline, while Playtech and GVC Holdings both fell by 7%. Other operators, such as Flutter Entertainment’s and 888 Holdings’ shares declined by smaller percentage rates.
Reportedly, the stock market value of UK gambling operators declined by over £500 million.
Current Online Casino Games’ Maximum Stakes Should Be in Line with the FOBTs’ Ones, Campaigners Say
The UK Gambling Commission’s spokesman has shared that the review of the online gambling stakes would complement the regulator’s focus on VIP practices, game design and advertising technology. He further confirmed that the assessment of the existing regime and the next steps for online stakes are planned to be published in a report later in 2020.
Mr McArthur promised to initiate a review of online stakes in the gambling industry during an evidence session with the all-party parliamentary group on gambling harm. The group has cross-party support and is aimed at helping the Government and regulatory authorities reduce gambling-related harm by restricting the local gambling industry as much as possible, just as it did with the reductions of the maximum stakes on controversial FOBTs that were cut from £100 to £2.
A strong campaign has pushed the Government to finally give the green light to the stricter measures on the machines, which have been criticised for luring problem gamblers with their flashing lights and extremely high betting stakes that make them inappropriate for being offered by high-street bookmakers.
As for the recent decline in the gambling operators’ share value, this has been the second time the all-party parliamentary group’s intervention has led to such a massive decline in the stock market value of the UK gambling sector. It stripped about £1.2 billion in November following revelations that Members of Parliament had asked the regulator to take stricter measures against online casino games.