While online sportsbooks in the UK may be in rude health, plans from the Liberal Democrats political party have come out that could limit the number of betting shops across the country. The party – a member of the ruling coalition in the UK – wants betting shops to be reclassified, so councils can limit their numbers.
The plans come as UK gambling laws are due to change again, with plans to introduce a 15% point of consumption tax for foreign based online gambling sites. That proposal has come under fire from the Remote Gambling Association (RGA), who have instead proposed a tax under 10%.
This, of course, comes as the EU is pushing for closer integration between countries on gambling laws. With the UK opening its online market up to possible taxation, it is likely that other countries will follow suit, despite some contradictory laws.
The proposal has been bought forward by a local government minister, Dan Foster, who also claimed a link between the bookmakers and regional crime figures. The bookie is seen as an institution in the UK, with sports betting being a mainstream past-time for most male adults. Indeed, on Grand National weekend, over GBP 100 million is wagered on one race alone, every year.
With mobile betting on the rise, though, it remains to be seen how much of an impact this could have on betting figures, should it ever get through parliament, that is.
Meanwhile, there have been repeated calls by the Association of British Bookmakers to classify betting shops in the same way any retail outlet would be. Describing – fairly, if the UK market is to be believed – gambling as a mainstream leisure activity, the unions suggestions are still to see the light of day, but the number of bookies continues to increase.