BHA warns government over cutting FOBT stake

31 January 2018

British Horseracing Association (BHA) chief executive Nick Rust has said cutting the top stake on fixed-odd betting terminals (FOBTs) will have a “significant” impact on the sport.

Punters are currently able to wager as much as £100 (€114/$142) per spin on FOBTs, but the government is considering lowering this to £2 amid mounting pressure from campaign groups.

Earlier this month, it emerged that new UK Culture Secretary Matt Hancock is keen to push ahead with these plans after an “overwhelming” response to an ongoing government review of the sector.

However, speaking to At The Races, Rust has said that should the government opt to take this option, then the financial benefit horse racing has experienced since the levy was introduced could be wiped out.

“We recognise the strong contribution betting makes to our sport so we are very clear with government that if it were to go to a £2 maximum stake on fixed odds betting terminals it would have a significant impact in the short and medium term on British racing,” Rust said..

“We want government to understand that fully before it makes its final decision and we are taking steps to ensure they understand the impacts, they understand the cashflows and the likely impact on our sport.

“The great work that government has done in helping us extend the levy could be undone at a stroke if there is a move to a £2 maximum stake.”

Arena Racing Company chief executive Martin Cruddace seemingly agrees with Rust, saying a cut in the maximum stake to £2 would be “pretty catastrophic” to racing income, according to the Racing Post.

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