House of Lords backs bookmakers in two year FOBT implementation

House of Commons
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The Association of British Bookmakers has hit back at claims by the Local Government Association that a delay on FOBT maximum stake implementation is caused by the industry “blocking an early implementation.”

The claims, made by Councillor Simon Blackburn, chair of the LGA Safer and Stronger Communities Board, were dismissed by the ABB as necessary for a significant alteration to administration, staffing, suppliers and contract terminations.

“In addition software changes to the architecture of over 200 games will be made,” said an ABB spokesperson.

The LGA has estimated an extra £3.6bn could be wagered on FOBTs between the implementation of the cap in May and the 2020 estimate of enforcement, during which the ABB predicted the closure of 4,000 shops and the loss of 21,000 jobs.

Though Blackburn described any delay as “unacceptable,” the UK parliamentary under-secretary of state for digital, culture media and sport, Lord Ashton of Hyde, pointed out that the time frame also incorporates the institution of a secondary legislation.

Lord Ashton added that changes “will happen alongside engagement with the gambling industry to ensure that there is an appropriate period in which to implement the technological changes and develop plans to mitigate the potential impact on employment.”

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