The much-awaited decision on the review of Fixed Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs) from the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) is likely to be delayed until after June’s surprise general election. That being the case, what prominence will FOBTs be given in the various manifestos?
FOBTs are not a key issue amongst the electorate but it is still one that can carry a couple of lines in the manifesto, if only to demonstrate that the parties concerned are ‘caring’. But politicians should, however, refrain from saying too much because to do so will prejudice the review and could leave them open to a judicial review later.
What is likely is broad statements involving social responsibility on the part of operators and additional measures to prevent addictive play. With the Conservative Party 1/10 to win the election it is that manifesto that will be scrutinised most.
E-gaming companies will also be interested to see if a policy on Gibraltar makes the cut in the manifestos. The current British government’s stance on sovereignty has been confirmed but the wider implications of Gibraltar operating as a duty-free zone, with low corporation tax rates has not.
All the manifestos are likely to feature the war on tax evasion, tax avoidance and the targeting of offshore low tax regimes. As a British overseas territory (BOT), Gibraltar is one such place. BOTs are territories under the jurisdiction and sovereignty of the United Kingdom. They are parts of the British Empire that have not been granted independence or have voted to remain British territories. They are less independent than the British Crown Dependencies, such as the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
Mrs May has caught the opposition parties on the hop. Her announcement came as a surprise and there is little time for them to prepare. As such, gambling might be overlooked in the hastily written manifestos as the politicians focus on other issues, which could be the best result for the gambling sector.