ABB anticipates further shop closures during 2019

The impact of stake reductions on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) is continuing to have a ‘profound impact’ upon UK bookmakers as the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) anticipates further shop closures by the end of the year.

The statement comes after retailers and unions have urged the government to take action over the rate of shop closures on UK high streets, as new data indicates that the number of vacant shops is rising at its fastest pace in nearly a decade.

In a statement, the ABB explained: “We anticipate a significant number of betting shop closures by the end of this year (2019) – further compounding the crisis facing Britain’s high-streets. 

“While we accept the government’s decision to reduce stakes on gaming machines in betting shops, the decision is having a profound impact on retail betting and their staff. We support calls by retailers for the government to take action to help all businesses on our high streets.”

Analysis carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and high street analysts the Local Data Company (LDC) has shown that 16 stores closed each day in the first half of 2019 while only nine opened. 

UK bookmakers have already suggested that a number of their stores could disappear from the high street, with William Hill estimating 700 shops could close, and GVC predicting a figure of 900.

At the time of the FOBT legislation being discussed, the ABB issued a statement warning that the move to reduce the stakes on FOBTs from £100 to £2 would lead to a number of job losses across the UK betting industry.

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