BHA talks up racing’s future amid FOBT changes
The British Horseracing Association (BHA) has said the sport looks set to play a more vital role for gambling operators after the government cut the maximum stake on fixed-odd betting terminals (FOBTs).
Yesterday (Thursday), the government confirmed that the top stake on FOBTs will be lowered to £2 (€2.29/$2.70), with Remote Gaming Duty raised to fill the resulting hole in the pubic finances.
Campaign groups have long been pushing for changes in regulation for FOBTs, which currently allow punters to bet up to £100 per spin, and the government had been expected to take major action.
Operators had warned of the impact that the move could have on the gambling industry in the UK, claiming that a cut in the top stake could lead to widespread job
losses and a decline in tax income for the government.
However, the BHA has backed the move, saying the changes in FOBT regulations could lead to a brighter future for racing, talking up the sport’s future role in the gambling market.
BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: “British racing has a strong social conscience and we support measures announced by the government today to reduce the harm caused by problem gambling.
“We are also an industry that generates significant employment, provides education and training and funds charitable work, particularly in rural areas.
“Throughout this consultation process, we have aimed to protect these valuable social contributions from any potential adverse impacts from wider policy changes.
“We are pleased that government has acknowledged the reasonable arguments we have made in the consultation process that jobs and revenues in the racing industry should not be adversely affected by changes to wider gambling policy.”
Rust added: “British racing shares a unique interdependency with the betting industry and we recognise that this decision will affect jobs in the betting industry, with which we work closely in partnership.
“We want betting on horseracing – on the High Street, at racecourses and online – to continue to be accepted as legitimate and socially responsible.
“Recreational betting has been a part of racing for centuries and is an accepted entertainment pursuit during a day at the races or on the High Street.”
“Our industry’s leaders – who have worked together throughout this consultation – will now work with the betting industry and government as to how we can grow such legitimate, socially responsible betting activity on racing and take measures to address problem gambling wherever we can.”
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