Betfred MD urges final rethink of FOBT changes

Betfred MD Mark Stebbing has called on the UK government to reconsider plans to slash the max stake on FOBTs.


Mark Stebbing, managing director of Betfred, has called on the UK government to reconsider its plans to slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs). In March, the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) published recommendations to support the government with its review of FOBTs, including limiting stakes on slot games to £2 (€2.27/$2.71) and non-slot games to £30. Last month, it was reported that despite initial reservations, Chancellor Philip Hammond was close to signing off on an agreement with Culture Secretary Matt Hancock that would make the limits compulsory for all operators. However, a number of bookmakers have hit out at the plans, saying the changes would result in huge job losses across the industry, as well as a sharp drop in the amount the government tax in from gambling taxes.

Stebbings has now moved to remind the government of this potential upheaval should the changes comes into effect, warning that much “upset and heartache” will go into making some staff redundant. “I want to be sure when the government makes its decision it is aware of the consequences on people's jobs, livelihoods and families, if it decides to propose a £2 maximum stake,” Stebbings said according to the Racing Post. “These are people we have employed, trained and worked with for many years, and much upset and heartache will go into having to make them redundant. “In addition, there will be a huge impact on indirect jobs, with Betfred having 592 suppliers alone. “As managing director, I owe it to the thousands of staff to make sure the government knows that when it comes to jobs the stakes are high.” Stebbings added: “Any government action should be based on evidence alone and it must be recognised that responsible gambling is already, and will remain, the industry's number-one priority.”

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