Britain’s bookmakers are demanding an urgent inquiry into a new report by the Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) All- Party Parliamentary Group.
The report published tomorrow (Tuesday January 31) is expected to call for a £2 per spin maximum stake to be imposed on all FOBTs.
But the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) warned such a move would be a hammer blow to High Street bookmakers and threaten thousands of jobs.
The ABB criticised the report as “deeply flawed” and said it had been funded by commercial rivals of Britain’s bookmakers. It demanded an immediate inquiry by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards into the FOBTs All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) which it condemned as a “front for vested commercial interests”.
There is no evidence that a reduction in stake size would decrease the risk of problem gambling.
Speaking ahead of the publication of the APPG report, Malcolm George, Chief Executive of the Association of British Bookmakers said:
“This is a deeply flawed report funded by vested interests who would directly benefit if its recommendations are ever implemented. The report is the view of a tiny group of anti-betting shop MP. This group has been financed by those with interests in the casino, arcade and pub industries. We strongly believe that the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards should urgently investigate this All-Party Parliamentary Group.
This group of MPs has operated in secrecy, provided no transcripts of the evidence given to their meetings and operated throughout behind closed doors away from public scrutiny. Britain’s bookmakers employ more than 43,000 staff and contribute over £1 billion a year in taxes. But, betting shops are already closing at the rate of more than 100 a year and if the findings of this rigged report are implemented, it could spell the beginning of the end for the High Street bookmaker.”
The FOBTs All-Party Parliamentary Group and its report is funded by the following organisations that each gave £3,000:
- Bacta – the trade body for Adult Gaming Centres and Arcades
- The Hippodrome Casino
- Novomatic, machine manufacturer for casino and arcade industry
- JD Wetherspoon – pub gaming machines
- LM Consulting – arcades adviser
- Praesepe – casinos and arcades company
- Campaign for Fairer Gambling – links to the casino industry
The secretariat to the group is the public affairs company Interel which also works directly for Bacta, the Hippodrome Casino and Novomatic.