UK gambling industry release comments on new legislation
By abigail
In the UK reaction has been forthcoming following the release of the proposed new gambling legislation last week. Representatives from the gambling industry have been making statements to press following the publishing of the intended bill, and so far the response is positive. While much of the bill deals with the permission to develop supercasinos based on models in Las Vegas, spokespeople from the more traditional betting shops have been discussing what the legislation changes mean for them and their businesses.

Chief Executive of Ladbrokes, Chris Bell has revealed that he is confident that the changes in the law is good news for bookmakers and betting shops. He predicts that the bill will reverse the decline in the number of betting shops around the UK, and that companies will be looking into finding new ways to lure in a new clientele under the new legislation freedoms. Currently Ladbrokes are experimenting with a shop in London, which is often mistaken by passers by as a café where they can order coffees and food, in an environment not traditionally associated with betting shops.

In a statement released to the press, Bell said of the bill: 'It's no secret that we're looking to expand, when the locations are right and the prices are right. We have a few concerns about some details [of the bill], for instance over the regulation of betting exchanges, but in the round it should be good for us and the whole industry...Obviously the casinos will now offer betting, but the existing casino footprint is very small.”

For online gambling, the bill should also not represent any great hindrance to further growth, as the bill does not introduce any further regulations concerning individual clients, or any attempts to tax what is termed the non recreational portion of their custom. Senior Communications Executive of Betfair, Antonia Sharpe made her comments on the bill, saying: 'Betting shops are part of the fabric of British life, like pubs and everything else on the high street. Increasing access to the internet will probably cause growth in online business, but the shops are still buoyant. Everyone seems to be buying them at the moment. The government rejected many of the proposals [on exchanges] from the [Parliamentary] joint scrutiny committee, in particular on how to define non-recreational users. But even so it's still too early to say how it might turn out.”

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