Bookmakers' shares tumble on reports of £2 gambling machine limit

Bookmakers' shares tumble on reports of £2 gambling machine limit

Britain's betting giants have warned that thousands of jobs will be lost and the horse racing industry will suffer after seeing their shares tumble following reports that the Government will slash the maximum stake on fixed-odds betting terminals (FOBTs).

The bookmakers said the limit, if confirmed, would result in job losses and shop closures, while campaigners urged the government to hold its nerve.

Now, according to the Sunday Times newspaper, an ally of Hancock has said that the new Culture Secretary is keen to opt for the lower of the two amounts, after an "overwhelming" response to the review.

Shares in William Hill were trading more than 13 per cent lower on Monday morning, while shares in Ladbrokes Coral slumped more than 10 per cent. Patrick Coffey, an analyst at Barclays, wrote in a note to clients that such a move "had not been factored in" by the United Kingdom gambling companies.

The consultation has mooted cutting the maximum stake on FOBTs - the so-called "crack cocaine" of gambling - to somewhere between £50 and £2.

Ladbrokes, which is in the process of being taken over by Foxy Bingo owner GVC, earned about £800m of revenue from gaming machines in 2016.

"The impact of this rumour on our share price this morning illustrates the drastic impact such a move would have on the retail betting sector", William Hill Chief Executive Philip Bowcock said in an emailed statement.

There are about 8,800 betting shops in the United Kingdom, and companies can have a maximum of four machines per shop.

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He helped them to two playoff appearances in his first three years but finished with a 139-152 record in three-and-a-half seasons. Assistant coach Joe Prunty was named the interim head coach prior to the club's game Monday night game against Phoenix.

The terminals have helped to keep betting shops going when many younger gamblers have switched to betting on sports events using smartphones or tablets.

A Department of Culture, Media, & Sport official said that, while no formal decision has been made, the GBP2 limit was very likely. That could take weeks or months.

Hancock was recently appointed to the role as part of a major reshuffle by Prime Minister Theresa May.

"The government must not waver in helping the vulnerable", said a copy of the letter shown to Reuters. The time has come for the government to act.

The Share Centre continues to recommend William Hill as a "buy" for investors due to the potential for further growth in mobile wagers, expansion into overseas markets and the prospect of further efficiencies within the business.

Shares in Paddy Power Betfair, which has a much smaller High Street presence, fell as much as 2.5% before recovering. GVC declined to comment on the Sunday Times report.

'Matt wants the new stake to be at the bottom of the range.

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