Friday, November 16, 2018
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Government u-turns on FOBT stake deadline

Parliament fixed-odds FOBT stake deadline amendments
The government has acquiesced to growing calls – even within its own ranks – for it to bring forward a proposed reduction in FOBT maximum stakes

Amendment tabled for FOBT stake reduction

Houses of Parliament FOBT Stake Amendment
From a 21 strong group of Tory rebels, plus a UDP faction, some 74 MPs have now stepped forward to table a motion to attempt to force a government reversal on the delayed implementation of FOBT maximum betting stakes.

Over 70 cross-party MPs support early FOBT implementation date

Over 70 cross-party MPs support April 2019 FOBT implementation date A cross-party group of MPs, will tabled a new clause and a sequence of amendments to the Finance Bill to bring forward the implementation date for Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) to April 2019. This follows the announcement last month that the Government intends to implement the £2 stake maximum stake...

Chancellor ignores industry calls to cut the FOBT stake now

Chancellor Philip Hammond budget speech FOBT stake cut
The odds of Philip Hammond bringing the stake cut on FOBTs forward to immediate effect were not that bad going into this week’s Budget Statement. You’d have thought that the weight of public pressure would have shortened the chances to a near favourite. But you’d have thought wrong, as did the entire amusement and soft gaming industry. The chancellor...

Enforce the FOBT stake – or we’ll do it for you, say legislators

FOBT, politics, government, Philip Hammond,
A coalition of over thirty members of parliament and peers have called on the Chancellor to enforce the government’s promised reduction in FOBT stakes - and have pledged to take matters into their own hands if he does not. In a joint letter published last week in Parliament’s The House magazine, signatories from all major parties and both chambers praised...

Deal or no deal? Katherine Morgan shines a light on politics and the industry

Parliament,Katherine Morgan, Interel Consulting, FOBT, bacta
Katherine Morgan is the deputy managing partner at Interel Consulting and is Bacta’s public affairs and political adviser. She recently worked with Bacta to successfully campaign for the FOBT £2 stake. She has worked in political consultancy for ten years and was formerly the senior adviser to a Government Minister in the Treasury. In a Coinslot exclusive, she shines...

An industry uniting? ABB and RGA in merger talks following “the FOBT thing”

industry Handshake
Reports of a merger between the Association of British Bookmakers and the Remote Gambling Association have raised eyebrows in the industry, but will any other sectors choose to join this proposed broader body? Following a year on the defensive, the Association of British Bookmakers and the Remote Gambling Association are rallying in talks of a merger. This week RGA CEO Clive...

FOBT delay costs Treasury money, says latest research

Coinslot HM Treasury
The Government is set to lose money by delaying implementation of a £2 stake on Fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs), new research suggests. Analysis from Cebr shows that a two-year delay in implementation of the new stake limit, announced in May, not only has a social cost, but could see the Exchequer miss out on an annual revenue boost of up...

Glasgow struggles for legal means of B2 redress

Glasgow skyline
Lawmakers in Scotland’s largest city wish to clamp down on FOBT stakes, but fear the litigious clout of the bookmaker. Glasgow City Council fears legal reprisal if it attempts to enforce its desired crackdown on maximum FOBT stakes, according to a new document put before local legislators last week. There are at present 800 of the machines distributed across the city’s...

Paddy Power Betfair downplays FOBT cut

Gambling giants Paddy Power Betfair has claimed that it can weather the £2 stake cut to FOBTs, standing in stark opposition to many other sires of ruin within the industry. The bold assertion comes as the company reported a four per- cent rise in profits for the first half of 2018 with totals hitting £106m. A statement from the firm...

We need more research: Ignorance or something else more worrying?

Coinslot FOBTs
The British gambling industry knows where moral redress is required, so, asks Chris Webster, why on earth is the Gambling Commission claiming so virulently to be in-the-dark? Here’s what a man does when he knows he isn’t fit for a task. He says he doesn’t have the right tools. I’m about to save the Gambling Commission four years of research...

UKGC heralds launch of four-year data drive

The Gambling Commission and its partners are, apparently, still in the dark as to the characteristics of UK problem gambling - as they choose an extended exercise in number-crunching over expediting the passing of common-sense legislation. In the latest move to tighten its grip on the industry, the Gambling Commission will soon reach out to operators throughout the land, in an...

Coo-Coo- Ca-choo, Mrs Linneweber

Coinslot FOBTs
Taking a trip back to the source, Sam Spencer argues that the latest news from the Linneweber VAT disputes can’t possibly affect the DCMS’ decision on when to cut FOBT stakes for the sake of problem gamblers. Can it? It all began in Bavarian bars at the turn of the millennia where Mrs Edith Linneweber was left in charge of...

Lucky Star: Making gambling fun again

Since the Triennial announcement, Lucky Star owner Nigel Botelho believes high-street gamblers have lifted their heads up from the FOBT, and began to reconsider the entertainment-focused approach of the AGC. Accurately predicting player behaviour following the Triennial Review decision has been an endeavour for many in the industry, but Nigel Botelho, owner of Lucky Star, has the benefit of a...

Bacta to voice members’ outrage over B2 delay at Treasury meeting

John White
So how long does it take to change the FOBT stake to £2? Most in the machines industry find it risible that two years has been proposed as the necessary bedding in time. If the stake were increased to £200, they smile, it could probably be ready in two hours. Trade body Bacta are going to government next week...

In pursuit of balance

Dan Waugh
In an excerpt of a blog post for consultancy firm Regulus Partners, Dan Waugh calls for the industry, the regulator, and the government to pursue a more balanced approach to gambling. As any fish on a bicycle will tell you, balance is a tricky thing. In matters of gambling policy, equilibrium at times seems like a hopeless dream as debate...

Revolving door politics

coinslot FOBT campaign BALPPA
The industry has a new Secretary of State - 26 weeks after welcoming the last one. So, asks Olly Gully, is this what the government meant by ‘strong stable leadership’? You wait ages for a bus and then three come along at the same time. The first was so slow and stuttery it took over half a decade for it to...

Bacta set out party conference campaign

John White Coinslot bacta
Bacta has outlined a programme of lobbying activities during ‘Party Conference Season’ during which the association will be taking its arguments on behalf of the industry to all three major political parties. The lobbying programme starts in Brighton on 17 September when the south coast resort will host the Liberal Democrats. One week later and Bacta will be in Liverpool...

Gambling Commission targets Cat D for player protections despite “no compelling evidence”

Neil Mcarthur
After giving provenly harmful FOBTs an easy ride in their recommendations on the Triennial Review, the Gambling Commission is taking an aggressive approach on Cat D machines, calling for player protection measures despite self-confessed lack of evidence. The very same self-described ‘evidence-based’ regulator that suggested a £30 maximum stake on FOBTs - contrary to both statistical data and popular opinion...

Magnanimous in victory

Coinslot FOBTs
While the bookmakers continue to toil away at convincing the Treasury for a longer implementation period, all the while encouraging shop staff to push FOBTs harder than ever, Sam Spencer still believes the amusements industry must resist the urge to stick the knife in. The story of FOBT maximum stakes has been one of drama, deception, and dogma, but with...

Gabi Stergides: Implement FOBT cut ASAP

Coinslot FOBTs
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Bacta president Gabi Stergides expresses the need for swift implementation of the decision to cut FOBT stakes to £2, while also offering the trade association’s assistance to Theresa May’s advisor. As President of bacta, the trade association representing the UK Amusement Industry, I am writing to welcome the Government’s decision in reducing the...

Treasury branded “morally reprehensible” over FOBT cut delay

philip hammond chancellor
In Money Vs. Morality round two, chancellor Philip Hammond is against the ropes once again, with MPs branding the reported 2020 delay to FOBT maximum stake cuts as “morally reprehensible”. MPs including former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, Carolyn Harris, and Ronnie Cowan, have written a letter to the Prime Minister urging her step-in on the FOBT stake cut implementation...

FOBT stake cut delay until April 2020 is “unacceptable”

Coinslot FOBTs
According to The Times, a cut to the maximum stake on FOBTs will not be implemented until April 2020 following a backroom deal between the Treasury and bookmakers. Bacta, however, aims to ensure this “unacceptable” timeline does not occur. The long-sought after cut to the maximum stake on FOBTs will not be implemented until April 2020 following reports of a...

Harris: FOBT “timescale is totally unacceptable”

Coinslot FOBTs
Penning an article in the Mirror, Carolyn Harris MP has stated she “will not stop until the Government implements the changes they have promised” on FOBTs. The chair of the FOBT all party parliamentary group Carolyn Harris MP has said a timescale of two years to implement stake changes is “totally unacceptable”. Revealing that “government ministers are saying they can reduce...

Getting to the bottom of it: Coinslot talks FOBTs with Sir Peter Bottomley

Sir Peter Bottomley
Coinslot spent an afternoon talking to Sir Peter Bottomley MP during a Bacta event at Worthing’s Connaught Leisure recently. The veteran Tory parliamentarian and former government department PPS was a primary mover in the campaign to curb FOBTs. But there was more to his position than political posturing - this seaside MP understood the damage that the fixed odds...

Gaming finally has a Future in Willesden Green

Future Leisure
There was very little will in Willesden as Future Leisure had to fight hard to get its change of use application through the council. After almost a year of fighting, the operator’s appeal came through and an AGC will make its way on to the high street. The future has been a long time coming for Future Leisure whose planning...

“Competition is good”: Operators anticipate LBO entrance to AGC market

Coral:Reel Time
With the maximum stake on FOBTs set to be cut to £2, high-street operators are anticipating the arrival of LBOs on the AGC sector’s shores. But is this potential invasion a threat, or just healthy competition? Operators on Britain’s high streets are anticipating the arrival of LBOs in the AGC market following the DCMS’ decision to reduce the maximum stake...

Bacta’s John White: FECs are the centerpiece of seaside-onomics

John White Coinslot bacta
As the government begins to take more of an interest in coastal communities and FOBTs are finally set to leave the agenda, CEO of Bacta John White explains that now is the time to sell the Great British seaside - and remind everyone what makes it so special. While there’s no escaping the fact that the weather is the “preeminent...

FOBT decision bridges the political divide

House of Parliament
In Regulus Partners’ Winning Post, Dan Waugh describes how parliament reacted to Culture Secretary Matt Hancock’s decision to cut the maximum stake on FOBTs to £2. One of the great (and rarely acknowledged) social benefits provided by the gambling industry is its ability to bring people together - and so it proved this week in Parliament as MPs and peers...

Contagion: Westminster council spreads the toxic virus in FOBT fall-out

Westminster Council
With FOBTs defeated on the battlefield, time now then for the unlikely allies to turn on one another? It seems the first to unlink themselves from the brothers in arms are Westminster Council who have turned their hostile attentions towards AGCs. The battle is over; but the war is only just beginning. "These adult arcades can have a higher number...