- Review of FOBT stakes due in October
- Barclays analysts predict maximum stake will be reduced to £25 rather than £2
UK bank Barclays has bucked the trend of current opinion by predicting that next month’s Triennial Review of stakes and prizes, will not lead to the severe cutbacks in maximum stake levels for fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) that some experts are predicting.
The UK’s Triennial Review of stakes and prizes is due to report next month and some experts have been predicting that the intense political pressure caused by a series of negative media reports about the effects of FOBTs would lead the government to reduce the maximum permitted FOBT stake from £100 to £2.
This would bring slots in line with Category C machines operated in public houses, and would address the concerns of campaigners who have been critical of FOBTs – dubbed the ‘crack cocaine of gambling’.
Such a move would make a severe dent in earnings for many bookmakers, with William Hill Casino expected to be the worst hit, and both companies have seen their share price fall ahead of the long-awaited regulatory review.
But analysts at Barclays said that the market was assuming a worst-case scenario when it came to FOBTs, and according to reports in the Daily Telegraph, they believe that the final figure is likely to be a more generous £25 maximum stake.
According to Barclays, the UK Treasury will be reluctant to bring in measures that are likely to lead to a significant loss of tax revenue at a time when they are under pressure to find extra money for public spending.
Analysts at the bank also point to the fact that while a significant reduction in the maximum FOBT stake might prove politically popular, there is little available evidence to indicate that it would address the industry’s wider problems.
The prediction by Barclays analysts produced a positive reaction for bookmaker’s share prices with Ladbrokes shares increasing by 2p to 122.2p and William Hill shares rising 2.1p to 247p on Thursday.
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