Local lawmakers across the UK will be given the power to limit the number of betting shops.
In an attempt to help local authorities deal with the problems caused by the uncontrolled spread of fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), sports minister Helen Grant announced new policies to give city leaders control over the number of bookmakers; the same rule already applies to bars and takeaways.
Ministers are also considering changing the current British gambling laws to limit the maximum stake between GBP 50 and GBP 100. However, Lib Dems remain unhappy with this proposition, arguing that the amount is still much higher than the GBP 16 limit imposed on arcades and GBP 5 limit for casinos.
According to local gambling news, the main problem the Government is looking to tackle at the moment is the high number of betting shops. Such venues are allowed to have only four FOBTs each, so bookmakers took advantage of the fact that laws don’t require them to submit planning applications and opened more shops.
Getting rid of FOBTs
At the moment, there are more than 33,000 betting shops across the UK. Anti-FOBT campaigners say there has been a rise in problem gambling over the past few years and betting machines, which allow players to lose up to GBP 300 every minute, are the culprit.
Annual reports show that British players do spend a huge amount of money – over GBP 1 billion per year – on gambling machines. Now small betting shop owners are afraid their profits will be affected, while bigger companies such as William Hill claim the new measures are welcome.