Xmas comes early for bookies’ FOBTs


It’s a safe bet that bookies are happy with this week’s turn of events as FOBTs have moved out of the spotlight in the nick of time.

It all started with the unexpected recommendations of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee report on the Gambling Act 2005, which advised that the numbers of these machines be increased in betting shops to stop the practice of operators opening several shops in the same street.

Then the BBC2 Horizon current affairs programme showed Harriet Harman ruing the day that her Labour Government allowed FOBTs in the first place. This led to the current coalition Government vowing to look at the situation – with a clampdown seeming inevitable.

This week there was due to be another damning programme on FOBTs aired on British TV, however this was shelved due to the unfolding scandal surrounding the late Jimmy Savile.

In addition, the Government’s long-awaited response to the select committee report, which was due to be published this week, has also  been postponed.

So, Christmas has come early for the bookies, especially as both William Hill and Ladbrokes have revealed that revenues across all parts of their business are continuing to rise – from FOBTs, sports betting, online casinos and smartphone apps.


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