A delay of B2 rules and regulations will only exacerbate the crisis stemming out of the mishandling of the Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals in the United Kingdom. With the government having a lot on its plate, no lawmaker seems interested in addressing the issue, important as it is.
The FOBTS Restrictions May Hit Before B2 Regulations
As we have reported before, British Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond will attend the budget meeting on Monday, October 29 and likely announce plans to further delay a much-needed B2 legal framework, which would allow to patch up the gaping financial abyss the FOBT’s measures have left.
As a quick refresher, the FOBT’s max bets were changed earlier this year, obliging any business operating such machines to actually reduce the maximum bet to £2 from previously £100. The ruinous decision did not stop with just endangering jobs, though. There is now talks that the gaming tax in the country should increase to 25% to ensure that the industry will continue to pay as much as it has so far, despite a major dip to its profits.
Bookmakers have reciprocated the rumors and measures by repeatedly warning about forthcoming job losses, but the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has replied by saying that these fears were trumped-up for gaming operators to retain their profits.
Such warnings falling on deaf years, though, a more startling and wakening assessment has been the rumor that as much as £457 million of income can be actually lost, which is partly what has prompted a tougher tax stance by the government.
Despite these premonitions, the government has abided by its original decision not to reverse the maximum stake. But a more worrying thing yet is the fact that nobody is really sure when the cut will come into effect. Initially, the move was expected to take place in 2020, but now a new timeline puts it as of October 2019, reports continue.
With the whole community agog, the APPG has further aggravated matters arguing that changes that precede the law, such as the ones enacted by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), can be concluded at a rapid clip without wasting unnecessary time. The stance against the gambling industry has been becoming tougher, too.
Legislators have been quite intransigent, too, arguing that bookmakers have been sounding an alarm about events that are not at all likely to transpire to begin with. However, business representatives have been just as unable to understand the pushback from the FOBT Committee which is clearly leading gambling towards the edge, sacrificing employment in the process.
The mulled 25% overall hike in the tax is in itself quite threatening, with the Remote Gambling Association (RGA) warning about the dangers of flirting with high taxes especially at a time when revenues are clearly going to continue falling.
Regulation on the island has also been quite stringent in recent months, but then again, individual companies have been found guilty of not abiding by the law.
With the budget meeting now coming and Mr. Hammond preparing to bring in the papers, all business representatives have to do is wait. Whether a calamity will have been averted will become obvious on Monday.