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Paddy Power Betfair Supports Stricter Limits on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals

by Glenn Baird - October 1, 2017

With an industry review just around the corner and growing pressure from the shadow government it seems inevitable that something will have to change in the UK’s gambling market and it would appear that fixed odds betting terminals lie firmly at the top of that list.

The latest criticism has come from within the industry, with Paddy Power Betfair support tougher measures on betting limits.

In a report in the Financial Times , the company’s CEO, Breon Corcoran has stated in a letter to the minster for sport, Tracey Crouch that, “We now believe that the issue has become so toxic that only a substantial reduction in FOBT stake limits to £10 or less will address societal concerns.” Corcoran’s rationale isn’t one derived from sympathy for problem gamblers but is instead an attempt at limiting damage control for an industry under increasing fire:

“Whilst we are not aware of any evidence which links stake size to problem gambling, we are acutely aware of the increasing reputational damage to the gambling industry that has followed lack of progress in this area.”

Last year it was estimated that fixed odds betting terminals made somewhere in the region of £400 million, so new legislation surrounding them will mean sizeable drop in revenue for some firms.

Corcoran goes on to say that, “I am confident we could operate our retail business successfully and profitability under such circumstances. Other well-run operators should be able to do the same.”

Corcoran has come in criticism of his own, with Ladbrokes relations director, Donal McCabe stating that, “Of course with 300 shops [at Paddy Power Betfair] and a massive online presence, [Mr Corcoran] is looking at an impact on a very different scale to the rest of the sector, where 20,000 jobs are at risk. Some might say it is a naked act of opportunistic commercialism dressed up as a concern over the sector and the wider good.”

In other words, Paddy Power Betfair have much less to lose than other betting firms in the UK and as such they have been able to take the moral high ground before the backlash over fixed odds betting terminals really hits home.