As mobile betting continues to rise and rise, the government is facing a backlash from opposition politicians over plans to take no action over the spread of high street betting shops throughout the country.
Roberta Blackman-Woods is the Shadow Minister in Communities and Local Government for the opposition Labour Party, and she is leading the latest attack on the ruling Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition in the UK. The criticism centers around the presence of too many betting shops in local communities.
The government recently rejected calls to change UK gambling laws to restrict fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in betting shops up and down the country, and this coincided with a 3% rise in the number of betting shops across the country. As such, Blackman-Woods is leading calls to restrict the number of new shops that can open.
The MP said: “The government’s approach is entirely the wrong one and profoundly anti-localist. It is strange that they seek to badge the changes as indicating that they are absolutely committed to enabling individuals and community groups to have a greater say over every aspect of their area, including their high streets.”
It’s interesting that there has been an increase in betting shops recently, considering the continued popularity of online sportsbooks in the UK. Combined with mobile taking an ever increasing share of the market, it could have been expected that land-based shops would lose out, but they’re continuing to go from strength to strength.
Any change in regulations could hit operators, therefore, who are competing heavily against each other in a crowded and well developed market. With companies starting to look abroad for new opportunities, this could spell a tipping point for sports betting in the UK. Whatever the outcome, gambling continues to be a popular past-time throughout the country.