UKGC cautions Paddy Power Betfair & Betfred on FOBT stakes

8 Apr 2019

ukgc-warningThe 1st of April 2019 saw the introduction of a new regulation imposed by the United Kingdom Gambling Commission. The new rule lowered the maximum stake accepted on Fixed-Odds Betting Terminals (FOBTs). Following this latest change, the Commission cautioned Paddy Power Betfair and Betfred after assessing that some of their latest products had the potential to go against the new framework. As a result, the operators might face legal implications if they don't comply.

In a media statement, Paddy Power Betfair claimed that their product does not fall under the FOBT category, as it's essentially a type of lottery, so no fixed odds apply there. Also, players don't place their bets on a terminal, but to an actual person in a shop. Elaborating on the operator's public announcement, a Paddy Power Betfair representative claimed that their latest betting product ran for a limited amount of time in a few betting shops. What remains to be decided now is whether the company will release the product in full or not.

However, a new announcement to the media came from Paddy Power Betfair a while after the first one, making their decision public to not go any further with that specific product. Betfred on the other hand, immediately complied with UKGC's warning and recalled their product from the market. The Commission's Executive Director was very clear about not making any compromises when it comes to compliance with the new framework. He also made clear that the product evaluations will continue aiming to ensure all operators respect the latest maximum stake changes on FOBTs.

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Betfred is a well-known name among bettors in Britain. It is the epitome of uncomplicated betting, and one of the last UK betting giants still privately owned. The sportsbook was the first to offer a Lucky 15 bet and the first to pay out bettors before a result was guaranteed in 1998. The horse and greyhound racing sections are some of the most complete among online bookies. If you asked me who the best High Street bookmaker is, I would easily tell you, Betfred. However, the transition from shops to online betting has not been so smooth. You can see that most of their business still comes from the High Street, as the platform lacks finesse. The number of markets and payment methods available does not even come close to what the competitors are offering. In addition, for a sportsbook that has been online since 2004 and had a revenue of £10 billion in 2019, the expansion internationally has inexplicably been overlooked. Nonetheless, it is still one of the top options for all the major UK sports.

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