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Labor Unions Bemoan Closure of UK Betting Shops

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Labor as well as bookmaking industry leaders warning the government of the cost of FOBT tax hikes.

With George Osborne’s increased tax on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) estimated to cost the bookmaking industry roughly GBP 70 million annually, countless UK betting shops are set to close. William Hill alone will close 109 locations and leave several hundred people jobless.

Labor leaders have admitted that there are legitimate concerns about the social cost of FOBT usage, including an alleged rise in gambling addiction. However, the Community Trade Union, which represents betting shop employees, is asking that government officials consider the effect that changes to UK gambling laws will have on betting shop employees.

Thousands of Britons set to lose their jobs

Said John Park of the trade union: “We want our members to have secure jobs and it’s important that any proposed regulatory changes do not trigger kneejerk job cuts and that every opportunity to make betting shops a responsible and sustainable part of UK high streets is taken.”

With increasing numbers of bettors using online sportsbooks in Britain, traditional betting shops have turned to FOBTs in order to maintain profitability. The taxes on FOBT revenue were have been raised to 25 percent to 20 percent, which will prevent many shops from meeting everyday costs.

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