Betting shops prepare for FOBT stake reduction

Coinslot-stake reduction
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Trials are underway in Birmingham aimed at prepping the betting industry for compliance in time for April’s reduction in FOBT stakes.

With just six weeks remaining until new and vastly reduced maximum FOBT stakes go into effect, bookmakers have opted to undertake a trial of the new £2 maximum wager limit – in order to assess its potential impact to the UK betting industry.

Current precedent permits FOBTs a maximum stake of £100 per play, a market imbalance (and media-generating hot potato) that the betting industry has fought hard to uphold: citing the risk of shop-closures and job losses were it to be toppled. Once the decision to curb the machines was made last spring, the Association of British Bookmakers even managed to convince chancellor Phillip Hammond to delay its implementation by half a year – a move that sparked outrage in parliament (even amongst Theresa May’s cabinet), to the extent that the treasury eventually ceded to pressure and agreed to bring the new limits into force as of April 1.

Now, in anticipation of the new framework, the betting association has announced that it will soon conduct trials throughout a series of shops in Birmingham, in order to ensure that all relevant software and machinery is brought up to compliance in time.

A statement on behalf of the ABB described the undertaking as “a hugely complex process” that is now “at an advanced stage where the trialling of content, platform updates and the new stake will soon begin.”

“We are grateful to everyone who is working tirelessly to ensure that betting shops meet these new requirements,”it added.“Betting shops will remain the best and safest place on the high street to have a flutter.”

It is thought that approximately 400 games will be required to be reprogrammed as part of the regulatory shift. Meanwhile, existing safe-gambling features – such as the ability to set both time and spending limits, are to be retained.

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