Jim Mullen, chief executive of Ladbrokes Coral Group, has said that proposed changes to stake limits on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs) in the UK could lead to the closure of hundreds of betting shops.
Speaking to the Evening Standard newspaper, Mullen said as many as 1,000 of the 1,800 betting shops currently operating in London could be forced to close as a direct result of the changes.
At present, punters are able to place a maximum stake of £100 (€114/$123) on FOBT machines, but campaign groups and various politicians have called for this to be lowered to £2.
Critics of the machines have cited problem gambling as the main reason for the demand, urging the government to take action.
However, Mullen has warned that the plans could have a major impact on the industry, adding that the government could lose out on hundreds of millions in tax should the move go ahead.
“In London alone, potential shop closures could hit nearly 1000, with nearly half of all employees, 4,300, losing their jobs, and a potential tax loss to the Exchequer from these London shops alone of £230 million by 2020,” Mullen said
Related article: All Party Parliamentary Group report calls for £2 maximum stake on FOBTs