Jan 22, 2018

Ladbrokes warns FOBT crackdown will hurt horseracing industry

Ladbrokes Coral has warned that a crackdown on fixed-odds betting terminals would endanger the UK's horseracing industry and cause tens of thousands of job losses, in an attempt to bolster support for bookmakers amid reports the government will announce severe restrictions on the controversial machines. Bookmakers with large numbers of retail outlets currently count on FOBTs for a large proportion of their profits, and shares in Ladbrokes and GVC - which is in the process of buying it - tumbled on Monday morning, as did rival William Hill. In a statement released to the market after the drop, Ladbrokes Coral chief executive Jim Mullen stressed that "The current call for evidence is yet to conclude and industry responses have not yet been submitted to government". Ladbrokes said that would be bad news for Britain's racing industry, which relies on bookmakers for an important chunk of its funding. Betting companies spent months in dispute over an extension to the horseracing levy in 2016, but Ladbrokes said the shop closures caused by an FOBT clampdown would more than offset the increased income the BHA had fought for.

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