UK Betting Shops numbers down Luke Haward, CDC Gaming Reports · January 6, 2018 at 8:21 am Having faced widespread criticism over fixed odds betting terminals (FOBTs), a recent scoop from the BBC indicating concerns about self-exclusion systems, and incoming regulatory changes, UK bookmakers have rarely been under as much pressure, and this pressure is already starting to show. The UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) released numbers at the end of 2017 indicating that some 400+ betting shops have already closed their doors during the last calendar year, an almost five percent reduction in the total number of premises nationwide. Around half of these closures were made by Ladbrokes Coral, although they are expected to rally significantly following their recent merger with GVC Holdings. Of course, the fear in the industry remains that we will see a significantly higher number of closures once the government has decided exactly what maximum stake to set as the limit for FOBTs. It isn’t yet known what this limit will be, but it could swing as low as £2, and the variance on this decision is, in part, what GVC is gambling on with its offer to Ladbrokes. Another pressure point for bookmakers is the mandatory 10% levy on horse-racing bets brought into action last spring. This levy is applicable on all profits above the first £500,000. The Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) has stated that they are considering taking legal action on this matter. Some say the jig is up for the high street, and that it’s all going to be about online gambling in the future. Still, we’re not likely to see the major providers going anywhere too soon. Even where they are not taking profits currently, there’s a branding benefit to being out there in the public eye. The independent betting shops are likely to be particularly hard hit in the year ahead, but expect to see the big boys still working the high streets for the foreseeable future, albeit under some degree of strain.