Monday April 28,2014 : U.K. BOOKIES FIGHT BACK ON F.O.B.T. TAX HIKE (Update)
10,000 jobs could be at risk here, says trade association.
The trade body representing the UK bookmaking industry, the Association of British Bookmakers, is fighting back on a surprise proposed tax hike by the government which could see a 25 percent tax rate on the controversial betting machines.
Notification on the tax increase has already wreaked havoc on share prices, wiping GBP 460 million off the market valuations of leading companies like William Hill and Ladbrokes.
The ABB has advised that it is to present Chancellor George Osborne with a million-signature petition against the proposed legalization this week, and has warned that implementation of the tax puts 10,000 jobs at risk.
Articles on the crisis appeared widely in the UK over the weekend and Monday morning, reporting that the government is also set to unveil new measures handing local councils the power to veto the opening of new betting shops in towns
“There is no concrete evidence to show action on gaming machines will do anything to minimise problem gambling. Less than one percent of gamblers are problem gamblers. And that number is falling,” the Association's chief executive Dirk Vennix told CityAM.
“Let’s be clear, thousands of jobs are in jeopardy following the chancellor’s Budget. They will be lost forever if further action is taken.”
Other publications have pointed out that the review on FOBTs carried out last year by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport found that only 2.5 percent of bets on FOBTs are made at the much-publicised maximum GBP 100 stake level.
There have also been reports that the government, under media and activist pressure, is to lower the maximum bet limits on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals in betting shops. Such new restraints would follow voluntary Association of British Bookmakers amendments that have already been implemented by most UK bookies.