ABB dismisses latest FOBT report as being “flawed”

The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has expressed its belief that a report which estimates the potential economic cost of cutting fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes to £2 was “flawed.”

The report, which was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) for the British Amusement Catering Trade Association (BACTA), came to the conclusion that if the Government were to cut the stakes on FOBTs to £2 the economic implications for betting wouldn’t be as significant as first anticipated.

The CEBR projected that the potential losses for betting shops would be up to 47% lower than the government had originally detailed in its impact assessment. Which outlined that the industry would lose £639 million, however the CEBR has claimed that the reduction would only lead to a £335m deduction in annual gross gambling yield for high street betting shops.

Commenting on the research, an ABB Spokesperson said: “This is a flawed report, funded by those with vested commercial interests, with no access to betting shop industry data.

“The Treasury’s own analysis, with detailed betting shop data, has estimated that the net negative cost to the UK economy of a £2 stake would be a staggering £8.5bn at worst over the next ten years, and £5.5bn at best.”

Research that has previously been done by the ABB has outlined that such a drastic reduction in the stake would subsequently lead to 4,500 shop closures, 21,000 job losses and £1.1 billion lost tax revenue within two years.

The government is currently in the midst  ’12-week consultation period for proposals on ‘changes to gaming machines and social responsibility requirements across the UK gambling sector’.  At October’s Triennial review to gaming machines stakes and  has announced that the current maximum stakes on FOBTs will be cut from £100, to between  £50 – £2.