Paddy Power Betfair urges decision on fixed-odds machines

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Fixed-odds betting terminals screenImage copyright
Reuters

Betting firm Paddy Power Betfair has expressed frustration that a government review did not make a decision on fixed-odds betting terminals.

The firm’s chief executive Breon Corcoran said the review, released on Tuesday, failed to provide “clarity”.

Ministers proposed that bets on the machines be cut from a maximum of £100 a spin to somewhere between £2 and £50.

Mr Corcoran has previously called for the stakes to be slashed to address widespread social concerns.

Campaigners argue the electronic machines feed gambling addictions and can see players lose large amounts of money very quickly.

Some had hoped the government would lower the £100 stake on Tuesday, but ministers decided instead to consult on a range of options.

Mr Corcoran said on Wednesday: “We have sought long-term certainty and clarity. Yesterday doesn’t deliver that, but hopefully we will get there at the next stage.”

The consultation closes on 23 January, but Mr Corcoran said there could be some “drift” before the government makes a final decision.

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Media caption‘I was completely caught up in gambling’

Mr Corcoran was speaking as Paddy Power Betfair reported an 8% rise in machine gaming in the three months to the end of September. Group revenue rose by 9% to £440m.

He has previously written to the government saying the stakes on fixed-odds machines should be cut to “£10 or less” because the debate has become “so toxic”, according to the Financial Times.

The machines generated more than £1.8bn in revenue for the industry last year, helping to support growth for bookmakers.

According to the consultation documents, cutting the stake to £2 would cost companies £639m over the next 10 years.

The Association of British Bookmakers said on Tuesday the onus was on the gambling industry to help cut problem gambling.

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