The associations with Gambling are usually known to be negative, but surely there must be some positives of such a colossal industry? There is. It isn’t just the bookie makers who financially prosper from the industry, the economy does too.
The industry as a whole has come so far to the point that any potential step backs could make it collapse. Last year, the government revealed new rules for the maximum stake that can be made on Fixed Odds Betting Terminals. These are electronic machines that are in almost every bookmakers in the country today. Previously, the maximum stake was £100 every 20 seconds, but it has been reduced to £2 every 20 seconds. This is a great change for problem gamblers suffering with addiction and a step in the right direction, but what does this pose for book makers? According to the Gambling Commission, FOBT’s use to generate £1.8 billion in revenue a year for the industry, and taxes of £400m for the government. This change in rules puts pressure on the betting shops that still exist in the UK today. Due to everything now being accessible online, gamblers don’t feel the need to visit betting shops anywhere near as much as they did 20 years ago. In September 2018, there was 8406 betting shops across Great Britain, a 1.8% decrease from March 2018. The FOBT’s were the main source of income for these betting shops that still exist today, and with this new change it does potentially jeopardise the future of these shops.
With this, it also puts existing jobs at threat. There was 107,940 employee’s in the gambling industry in March 2018, a 0.6% from March 2017. The industry clear supplies employment, which reduces unemployment rates and positively impacts the economy. However, with the expansion and popularity of online gambling as opposed to bookmakers, it does question the future of some jobs in the industry, especially shops. One of the market leaders William Hill generates just over half its retail revenues from FOBT machines, and they warned that 900 of its shops could become loss-making, potentially leading to job losses. The change in laws has been considered to be dangerous to the industry and the economy.
Despite the popularity of online gambling, the Gambling Commission found that the national lottery remains the most popular gambling activity. It is believed that 70% of adults in the UK, accounting for over 32 million, play the national lottery. From the national lottery alone, they contributed £1.5 billion to good causes from April 2017 to March 2018, a 1.5% from the previous year. There was also £296 million contributed to good causes in the same year by large society lotteries, a 15.7% from the previous year. So with the expanding popularity of the industry, there is still agreements put in place to make sure not only the national lottery operators benefit from the scheme.
The gambling industry also supplies revenue for the media. From 2012 to 2017, there was around £1.4 billion spent on advertising for gambling sites. Any crackdown on the way gambling companies are allowed to work could risk damaging this figure, which could potentially have a knock on effect to the media. In addition, as mentioned in the previous post, almost 60% of clubs in England’s two top divisions have gambling sponsorship’s on their shirts. In the 2017 season alone, shirt sponsorship by gambling companies in the Premier League was worth £47.3 million. The industry provides valuable venue in many other fields. Gambling can have very a negative widespread impact on almost anyone, but has it come too far to ever be disregarded, due to the domino effect it would have?
The Treasury also gets a high tax take from Gambling companies. But, in England punters aren’t taxed on any winnings they make. Whereas in America, they are taxed on anything over $5000. This may be due to America being a capitalist country, but English punters are free to do as they will with the full amount of winnings. In addition, some countries around the world have forbidden online gambling, whereas England have embraced it as a revenue generator. It may not be the case in England so much, but in places like Las Vegas in America people from all round the world come purely to visit the famous casinos. Money is spent in the casinos, but also in the local community on things like accommodation and food, which boosts the local economies. In 2016, A report revealed that Britain’s gambling and betting industry is a key contributor to the UK economy, directly generating an average of £2.3 billion towards the UK GDP.
The future of the Gambling Industry is unknown. As everything becomes more and more electronic, away from the high street betting shops, which are potentially at threat. To add to this, problem gamblers rates have never been higher, and the future for the younger generations can’t be certain. But considering the positive effects that the industry generates for the economy and the risks that would surface if rules were changed, does this mean there is no going back?