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Paddy Power Now Says it Backs Heavy Curbs on Fixed Odds Machines

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Sep/27/2017

The largest online bookmaker, Paddy Power, now says it will be recommending heavy curbs on the so-called “crack cocaine” of gambling, fixed odds terminals where bettors can lose hundreds of dollars in a matter of minutes.

Breon Corcoran, chief executive of Paddy Power, told the Financial Times the debate around fixed-odds betting terminals that offer games such as roulette in betting shops has become “so toxic” that nothing but decisive action would “address societal concerns”.

Until this point, betting companies have resisted cutting the £100 maximum stake on the machines.  Anti-gambling activists want that number slashed all the way to £2.

In a letter seen by the Financial Times, Mr Corcoran has written to Tracey Crouch, the minister at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport leading the review, suggesting the government implement a machine stakes limit of “£10 or less”.

Further undermining the industry’s united front on FOBTs, he argues that “well-run operators” should be able to implement these curbs without compromising their business in betting shops, according to the Financial Times.

“Whilst we are not aware of any evidence which links stake size to problem gambling, we are acutely aware of the increasing reputational damage to the gambling industry that has followed lack of progress in this area,” writes Mr Corcoran.

“We now believe that the issue has become so toxic that only a substantial reduction in FOBT stake limits to £10 or less will address societal concerns. I am confident we could operate our retail business successfully and profitably under such circumstances. Other well-run operators should be able to do the same.”

Analysts at Barclays say a £10 limit would mean Paddy Power Betfair would lose £32m in machine revenues in 2018.

- Aaron Goldstein, Gambling911.com

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