JenningsBet switches focus to digital ahead of FOBT changes

19 February 2019

UK independent bookmaker JenningsBet is to launch a new FSB-powered betting and gaming platform as part of its preparations maximum fixed odds betting terminal (FOBT) stakes being cut to £2 from April this year.

The sportsbook will be powered by FSB’s pricing models, with JenningsBet customers able to place pre-match and in-play bets across a range of sports online or via mobile.

Players will also have access to a live casino and a range of casino games on the FSB-supplied platform, while JenningsBet will benefit from CRM tools for player segmentation and bonusing.

Greg Knight, managing director of JenningsBet, said the launch of the new, digital service comes after a tough 2018 for the bookmaker in the retail market.

However, Knight also said that while there is a need for retail to evolve, the betting shop will always have a place in the industry and services such as the new online offering will complement traditional, in-person betting.

“While we were keen to make this digital upgrade, finding the right partner who could join up our customers’ diverse needs across all channels was crucial,” he said. “With this state-of-the-art sportsbook, we aim to capitalise on the ramping demand for a mobile-first solution.”

Richard Thorp, business development director at FSB, added: “Our platform is now setting the tone for online sports betting, driving the sector forward via innovative features for online, mobile and retail.”

The move to digital comes ahead of regulatory changes on FOBTs, which come into effect from April. Maximum stakes will be cut from £100 to £2 while Remote Gaming Duty will rise from 15% to 21%.

The changes are to be implemented despite warnings from the Association of British Bookmakers that the maximum stake reduction will result in up to 4,500 shop closures and 21,000 job losses.

Betting Shop Services, the company behind JenningsBet and the Betterbet brand, cited the performance of its retail business as the main driver of year-on-year growth in profit and turnover for its financial year ended April 29th, 2018.

However, upon revealing these results in November, Betting Shop Services said that it was watching developments relating to FOBTs and would make changes to its operations as necessary.

The company said: “The directors are monitoring the situation closely and whilst doing so, are assessing any potential impact that will result, to enable them to take all appropriate measures to protect the long-term future of the business.

“The assessment includes the consideration of the levels of both FOBT and over-the-counter income, together with overall profitability of individual shops.”

Image: Dietmar Rabich